Cooking Lisbon: A Fun Day of School

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October 14th 2021
Published: October 26th 2021
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After the amazing culinary extravagance of the previous evening, it was time to get down to some serious business. Shortly after booking this trip, we all agreed to that we wanted to do a cooking class. Dave, Merry Jo and I had taken a class in Jordan and loved it. Not to beat the proverbial dead horse, but as a chef, I sometimes need to remember why I do what I do. Spending a day cooking for fun while learning some new ideas and working with new ingredients is pure joy. The key to this is to find a class that is balanced between fun and challenging and shows me some dishes that I can take back to work. Several dishes from previous trips have been featured on menus, as will many dishes from this one. Heck, the Ladies Golf Invitational next year’s theme is Roam Around the World, so I have some homework to do on this trip. I found Cooking Lisbon online, and felt that it was going to be what we were looking for, and I was right. This was a fun morning of cooking, talking, eating, drinking, and learning. Spoiler alert: by the end of the class I was happy, I was content, I was slightly tipsy, and I was excited to take these new ideas back to work with me.

When things are meant to be, they are easy. Dinner last night was only few blocks from our hotel. Our Market Hall Walking Tour and Cooking Class was to meet a few blocks from the hotel too, which I took as a good omen. On a warm, sunny day, it was a nice walk to the Cooking Lisbon center to meet Filipe, our chef instructor, and two other students. Small class is another good omen. Today was going to be a bang-up good day. Before leading us down to the Market Hall, Filipe took us to the kitchen to put an octopus into the oven. Never have I worked with octopus, so this was interesting. I did not know that it had to be frozen and defrosted before cooking. Filipe chopped up an onion, added some fresh thyme and rosemary, garlic and olive oil, then added the octopus and covered it all with foil. Into a preheated oven it went, and off to the market we wandered. The market was A. right across the street
Oven Ready OcopusOven Ready OcopusOven Ready Ocopus

Yes, it looks like a scary tv dinner
from our hotel. I can’t imagine how I didn’t put that together, and B. smaller than some of the other European markets I have visited. The seafood portion was extensive, and well laid out, although I was admonished by a worker for including her in my picture of the market. I was only taking an overview shot of the market, but apparently, she didn’t like that. I can relate; I have had bad hair days too. The snarky part of me wanted to put the picture on here, but the more compassionate part of me decided to delete it and not push my karma luck.

Once we had finished our shopping, we walked back to the classroom where the fragrant smells of herbs and garlic welcomed us. A bountiful hospitality table was arranged with green wine, chorizo, bread, cheeses and olives. The green wine was, once again using the term of the trip, lovely. I very much enjoyed it. The word green refers to the fact that it is a young wine, not to a color. Green wine can be red, rose, or white as was the case here. We sat on tools drinking and munching on chorizo and cheese while we watched Felipe make a watermelon gazpacho. Each of us were assigned a task. My job was to use a Parisienne scoop to make balls from Granny Smith apples. I rocked it. I truly shined like the star that I think I am. Into the blender went the remaining apples, watermelon, cucumber, some tomato and olive oil. Around and around it goes, where it stops….. ah, I didn’t care where it stopped. It was fun to watch and picture serving this, iced cold, to golfers on a hot day. Filipe had us place the Parisienne scoops of apple, watermelon and cucumber into a ring mold in the center of a bowl, pour the gazpacho around, garnish with balsamic, mint and fresh queso. And there it was, the perfect starter for a hot day.

Once the gazpacho was made, but before garnished and served, he cooked some fresh clams we had picked up at the market. Merry Jo was all in on the clams and peered through the glass lid of the pot to watch them cook. They were delicious to eat as we watched Dave start the risotto. Truth be told, it wasn’t a true risotto, but was delicious and much lighter. Filipe used Carolina rice instead of arborio. Onions, garlic and peeled tomatoes were cooked down to bring out the flavor. The rice was added and lightly sauteed, then slowly, ladle by ladle, the broth from the octopus was stirred in by Dave. While he was stirring, I was tasked with dicing the octopus for garnish, and once again, nailed it. Into the risotto went the perfectly diced pieces of octopus, and there it was, our perfect lunch.

While all of this was going on, another student was making what I would refer to as tuilles flavored with cinnamon. Our dessert was going to be the pastel de Belém deconstructed. Filipe had made a custard similar to the one in the classic dessert earlier in the class. This was spread over the tuilles to create a light, crispy, delicious dessert. Yes, yes, I will post some pictures. I know you are ready to stop listening to me yammer on about this, so bear with me for a few more minutes. We sat at a family style table to toast to our success and enjoy this lunch. As with all cooking classes, it was a truly relaxing way to spend a morning.

Additional photos below
Photos: 28, Displayed: 26


Fish Market 3Fish Market 3
Fish Market 3

Salted cod
Roasting the ChorizoRoasting the Chorizo
Roasting the Chorizo

Yes it is burning under there

Oh, please hurry

The stealth photographer was busted

26th October 2021

Great to see you back out there doing something (else) you love. Enjoy the rest of your time, and I will enjoy reading your posts. (PS: I was in Madrid and Northern Spain for most of September.).
27th October 2021

Great to hear from you
Thank you so much Jackie. I am glad you are following along on this. I'm sure you had a great time on your trip. That sounds amazing. Lots of good food there too.
27th October 2021

Cooking class
This looks fun and even more fun to be doing it with the Binkleys. Interesting about the Octopus having to be frozen and defrosted before cooking. When in China, I often saw Octopus being sold raw on the market stalls.
27th October 2021

It was a great time
Yes, the Binkleys are a fun couple to travel with. We had a lot of fun, and are already talking potential places for the next journey. I hadn't worked with octopus before, so am not sure on that. Will have to do some more research now that I am home. Thanks for the comment and for following along.
29th October 2021

My daughter-in-law is from Galicia region of Spain where the seafood is amazing , and I loved trying octopus there... must ask her about cooking it ! Your cooking class looks amazing , you’re all keeping very busy.
29th October 2021

It really was amazing
The class really was amazing. I so enjoy classes like that. Octopus isn't something I have worked with, so it was fun to try something new. If you find anything out from your daughter-in-law, shoot me a message.
30th October 2021

The Chef rides again!
Great food, great learning and great fun! Once again, you've chosen well! - The Dangerous One
2nd November 2021

Thanks Mr. Dangerous
With a classmate named the Dangerous One, I had to choose carefully. I was very happy with this class.
30th October 2021

Cooking Lisbon
You selected the best class and we loved it! I do love my clams and are glad they entrusted me with them. You rocked the apples! .... and the blender. Where shall we cook next?
2nd November 2021

Rocked it
I think we all rocked it. Hmm, I wonder what classes are near the Galapagos Islands.....
14th November 2021

I've never done a cooking class while travelling, it sounds a worthwhile experience, particularly if one would like to try dishes encountered while travelling, when home again. I imagine as a chef and a traveller too, this is right up your street, and I imagine those golfers back in Seattle will very much appreciate your experience! ?
14th November 2021

They are great fun
I would encourage you to think about a class on your next trip. There are usually fun travelers to meet, and it is a great way to learn more about the foods of a new country along with a one on one chat with a local. Yes, I think the golfers are going to be very happy.

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