Cooking classes

Although my primary interest now is writing, food and photography, I still take pleasure in teaching, especially if I happen to have such enthusiastic students like Petra and Alexandra.

Apart from learning English, these two girls also love cooking, so they were thrilled this week when I told them we were going to speak English – and cook at the same time.

We’d baked a couple of times before, and I understood both girls were more than comfortable in the kitchen. They showed an uncommon skill in making the wine cookies and little Christmas bakes.

Ready for a lesson
Ready for a lesson

When Alexandra let it slip after the Holidays that she’d got a brand new apron for Christmas plus a few other kitchen utensils, I knew we’d put it to use shortly.

So here are the two prospective chefs in their gear. Petra’s apron, as she revealed, once belonged to her grandmother. It did look completely different from today’s stuff, and I thought she looked adorable in it.

The plan was to cook a main meal this time – and a very Slovak one – known as Šošovicový prívarok s volským okom,  or Lentil Stew with Fried EggFunny enough, the same meal had been served to the girls in the school canteen that day. A concidence, or telepathy?

Anyway, I pre-cooked the lentils before the girls’ arrival to allow more time for talking and experimenting in the lesson.

Although I had cooked the meal quite a few times before, I always did it by eye, so I decided to use the measurements given in a recipe from the Internet on this occasion.

Again my young students surprised me with a noteworthy practical skill, as well as an unwavering gusto.

I managed to accidentally drop an egg on the floor when taking them out of the fridge, which resulted in quite a lot of sticky mess and extra cleaning. The girls, on the contrary, were very nifty with their hands, so there were no more egg-related disasters afterwards. They did a really good job with fried eggs.

Final stages of the cooking process …

… and here it goes:

Lentils with Potatoes and Fried Egg (or Šošovicový prívarok s volským okom)
Lentil Stew with Fried Egg (or Šošovicový prívarok s volským okom)

Alexandra and Petra filled my kitchen with plenty of young, positive energy. They were great cooks, and they did try the finished meal despite having eaten it at school an hour before.

To my eye and taste though, the lentil sauce was too thick, and I’d have certainly used less flour for the thickening. Well, it only proved the simple truth I’d been made aware of many times in my life – that using your own judgement is sometimes more important than strictly following instructions – especially if you’re not sure about the source.

I’m going to try the meal again soon, and will share my own recipe for the traditional Slovak Lentil Stew with Fried Egg.

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