I'm a bit of a foodie. Okay, more than a bit. I love eating just about anything you put before me - except swedes and tripe. But more than that I really love cooking. To me the best way to entertain family and friends is to prepare them a sumptuous meal, add a glass or two of good wine and enjoy sitting on the deck.
This photo was taken from our deck in Phuket showing the sunset.
But my favourite foods are Thai and Indian (and all things chocolate) which I haven't cooked very much and not with great success. I find the cookbooks I buy locally tend to dumb down the flavours to suit a general collection of readers and cooks.
So when we went to Phuket last month I enrolled for a Thai cooking class. If nothing else I was going to get a good lunch. There were five of us in this class, including a couple from the Chatham Islands, NZ. Small world.
The delightful Kelly of Kata Thai Cooking and her assistant patiently took us through our paces, chopping, pressing, mixing as we prepared ingredients for Green Curry with chicken, Tom Yum with prawns and Chicken Pad Thai. Deciding how many of those tiny and very hot chillies to add was difficult. I like hot but not too hot and didn't want to spoil my curry, but found that the flavour of what I did add cooked away a bit anyway so I could've been braver. Having the right utensils made the cooking process fast and easy so I hit the shops afterwards to add to my kitchen drawers.
When we sat down to eat - oh, yum. What a great way to finish our morning. Definitely a wonderful experience, and one I'm already putting to good use, creating dishes full of those wonderful spicy flavours.
And no, I didn't eat at the Pizza place in the photo. And no, I didn't need ALL those taxis to cart my shopping home.
Do you prefer to cook different, exotic dishes or the tried and true meals of home?