I would class myself as a bit of a slap-dash, taste and tweak as you go kind of cook. My parents are exceptionally good cooks so I guess I picked up basic skills by diffusion as I never made a meal until I moved out of home at the start of university. Our family home has shelves of cookbooks but I doubt my parents meticulously follow the recipes, only really using them to get ideas for dishes and flavour combinations. In most cases when I ask my mother how much of this or that she puts into a certain dish of hers I’m trying to recreate, she unhelpfully tells me it’s ‘angga-angga’, which is her Malay version of saying ‘approximately’. Like I said, unhelpful!
So how she manages to turn out amazing cakes and Malaysian kuih I’ll never know, perhaps after years of practice she’s perfected her own imperfect precision? I, on the other hand, do not have years of experience on my side and still lack the discipline of precision so most of my baking and desserts are basic affairs. This must explain why I almost always order a dessert at the end of the meal and didn’t have to think twice about heading along to Basement Sate for a dessert degustation then a pastry masterclass! I get to eat something and learn to make something – no brainer really.
I started with the easy part, the eating. Indulging in desserts and cocktails didn’t exactly interest a certain someone so I invited a friend who I knew shared my enthusiasm for both these things. On any day of the week you can enjoy drool worthy desserts such as the Kinder Surprise, a brownie with milk chocolate and tonka whipped cream, caramelised hazelnuts, praline foam and caramelia pearls or the kooky sounding Break an Egg, a lime and passionfruit curd with coconut mousse and crumble, passionfruit jelly and coconut shave; all to be enjoyed with strikingly named cocktails such as The Brave and The Bold or Thunder Cloud!
However, only on Tuesday can you treat your sweet tooth to the dessert degustation: three desserts paired with three cocktails. They options change regularly, I’m guessing it depends on what Pastry Chef Kelly Nadjarian is experimenting with at the time. The evening we went, we were presented with a strawberry mousse with pistachio, a blackberry macaron, and a dark chocolate tart, all paired with very strong, punchy cocktails – none of those wimpy, fruity concoctions here!
A couple of weeks after the eating experience, I went back to Basement Sate for the making experience at their Pastry Masterclass. The class is a few hours long, a cosy number of no more than six, includes a bit of history about French pastries, a bit of measuring and mixing, and then a bit of eating at the end. Our challenge of the day was a mixed berry tart with raspberry cream, an ideal summer dessert to learn how to make. For the next few hours I put aside my usual ‘dash of this and that’ attitude and got measuring with extreme precision, it definitely took a little longer but the results were worth it.
After all that meticulous weighing of ingredients, the mixing, the heating to a certain temperature then cooling down to a certain temperature, the baking, the decorating, we were left with a two particularly professional looking tarts which tasted fantastic!
Chef Kelly was a great teacher; she’s knowledgeable, patient, extremely passionate about her craft and most importantly does it all with a sense of humour! Get together a bunch of friends and spend the afternoon cooking up something delicious… if you’ve got something you’re dying to learn to make Chef Kelly is pretty accommodating, otherwise let her surprise you! Basement Sate also do cocktail classes, something I’ll definitely be considering gathering a group of my girlfriends together for!
I was a guest of Basement Sate, but as always, all opinions are mine, mine and mine alone!