© 2010 notworkrelated - David Rutter & Helen Roscoe. All rights reserved. notworkrelated Hutong Cooking

China – Beijing – Hutong Cooking/Bell Tower – 1st December

We came across The Hutong earlier in the month when we attended a Christmas event at The International Canadian School of Beijing. They had a stand showcasing some of their events and we picked up a schedule for the month. We’d already attended the Tai Chi class a week ago and booked ourselves onto a Chinese vegetarian cooking class too. Our teachers were Sophie from The Hutong who translated for the main chef; a lady from Inner Mongolia. The food we were taught was from the North that you wouldn’t really get in Beijing unless you were cooking it yourself.

On the menu we had:

Vegetable Kung Po with tofu.
Egg & tomatoe with green peppers,
& mushroom and celery stir fry.

We learned how to use the blocky knives that everyone cooks with over here, the head chef was pretty strict when it came to “The” way to chop carrots, tofu and the like. With the Kung Po dish everything was meant to be the same size so that the cooking time is equal. Some of us were spot on with this…whilst others perhaps a little more experimental!!

When it came to cooking there was a hell of a lot of deep frying going on- eek! Especially with the first two dishes. The tofu was cooked first and then put aside whilst the remaining ingredients were cooked, it then rejoined the dish towards the end with the seasoning. The egg and tomato dish is a classic Chinese meal and this was Dave’s chance to shine! He seasoned the dish very well with more pepper, chili and green peppers! We actually preferred this to the one that was cooked earlier on!! Helen had a go at the mushroom and celery dish, which was more like stirring the wok ingredients whilst the chef adds what’s required!

We didn’t get to do much hands on cooking however we really enjoyed the class and eating the food afterwards. There was a great rice dish which we took down the recipe for, although didn’t actually cook as it was ready to eat with the food. Sophie who works there is a lovely lady too! She had great knowledge about the foods we were cooking and info about why dark mushrooms are good for you in the winter.

After the cooking class we walked to the Drum and Bell Towers. They’re based not to far away from Nanluoguxiang and so we knew where we could go to warm up as it was foggy and bloody cold! The views across the city were limited but it always adds an atmospheric feel to the photos when it’s like that. We reached the towers in time for their drum performance, this too is impressive and a nice change from the norm. It was too cold to stay for very long but we lasted until the end of the performance before heading for some hot tea down the road.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0 & Olympus PEN, 17mm f2.8 & 100mm f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

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