“How to impress a date 101″ OR “Cooking with Charlotte Miller & OVI Hydration”
It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a foodie. There’s nothing I love more than discovering new or hidden restaurants, bars and cafes.
I love pouring over the menu, reading every single mouth-watering option, picking and choosing my entrée, main, dessert and cocktail(s) after much deliberation, based off how delicious they sound (as well as how pretty I think they’ll look on my Instagram account.)
I’ve never been a shoes or handbags kinda gal, so all my hard earned dollars goes on eating beautiful, rich food.
I made a decision a long time ago to never worry or fixate too much on calorie counting or dieting, but to instead work out a little more to make up for the 8 layered chocolate cake I demolished the night before.
With that being said, you would assume that I was a bit of a wiz in the kitchen. You’d expect me to own hundreds of expensive, heavy coffee table books filled with bright, colourful dishes that I whip up for my housemates and guests every chance I get.
You would be very, very wrong.
I make a mean cheesy pasta, chicken and veggie stirfry….can do eggs and am especially great with cakes, brownies, cookies and all things sweet but that’s about it.
So when the guys at OVI Hydration asked how I’d like to “infuse my summer” I suggested taking my best friend Gen to the South Melbourne Market Neff Kitchen for an afternoon of cooking with dietitian and personal chef, Charlotte Miller….
They agreed. I was excited, but apprehensive.
Excited to eat the food, apprehensive about having to prepare it myself.
To make the whole weekend a little more special, we were put up at The Cullen hotel, one of my favourite hotels in Melbourne.
Gen came for a sleepover on the Saturday night (think: robes, champagne and room service… the ultimate girls night in) and come lunch time Sunday our chauffeur had arrived to take us to the markets.
We met Charlotte at the Neff Kitchen and quickly ran through the menu before taking our baskets to the market to collect our ingredients.
She was lovely and very understanding that Gen and I were more your “take out” girls than “DIY at home” girls. She assured us that all the recipes were easy enough for us to be able to master by ourselves and impress our friends at our next dinner party.
Gen and I weren’t so sure….
Despite living in Melbourne for a year and a half now, I’ve yet to do much exploring of the markets and was inundated with all the yummy smells, colours and sounds- the food and flower markets were especially buzzing.
We grabbed all our fresh produce including our fish and quail and I’ve gotta be honest… doing the whole shopping trip in our red aprons felt a little Masterchef-esq.
Gen and I may or may not have run around with baskets, pretending we were running out of time and yelling at each other to “GRAB THE POMMEGRANNTE…OVER THERE, HURRY GEN WE’VE GOT 5 MINUTES LEFT ON THE CLOCK!”
Not sure the market regulars found our little role play as hilarious as we did but we certainly entertained ourselves.
By the time we got back to the kitchen I was parched and definitely glad I’d packed us some ice cold OVI’s. Being a masterchef is thirsty work.
Back in the kitchen, we started prepping our first dish, which was: “pomegranate and gin cured kingfish with dill, baby fennel and yoghurt cucumber relish”. Sounded fancy and I love raw fish and tropical fruits so I was keen to get stuck into it.
Charlotte’s first job for us was to get the pomegranate seeds out of the pomegranate. There was a very technical way of doing this: banging the back of the fruit really hard with the back of a knife. I’m really happy to have added that skill to my cooking repertoire.
We then mixed the seeds with gin, salt and sugar and rubbed the pretty pink mixture all over the fish to cure it.
By this stage I was speaking with a Jamie Oliver accent, saying things like “bubbly jubbly!” and thinking about organizing a dinner party at my house for 50 of my closest friends. I was that good.
Leaving the kingfish to cure, we began on the next dish: “rice paper rolls with crispy quail, snow pea sprouts, zucchini, herbs and cashew butter dipping sauce.”
Rice paper rolls are maybe the ONLY other thing I’ve managed to master in the kitchen so I was feeling pretty cocky until Charlotte started talking me through how to de-bone/pull apart a quail.
Those things are tiny, tricky little suckers.
With Gen on cashew butter dipping sauce patrol, I was left to chop the coriander, grate the ginger and shred the zucchini. Didn’t slice any digits off so gave myself a pat on the back.
The rice paper rolls were DELICIOUS and as Charlotte mentioned, super healthy. Quail has little to zero fat on as a source of protein so there were no “bad guys” hiding in our rolls (kinda like how my OVIs are 100% hydration goodness and 0% baddatives).
Third dish of the day was: “Hawaiian style salmon poke”. This was super quick and easy to whip up but looked like a beautiful, delicate masterpiece and I was already picturing the impressed look on my Tinder date’s face when I popped that down in front of him.
Finally, and perhaps my favourite dish if only for the big ball of cheese involved, was the “burrata with asparagus, herb salad, lemon and macadamia gremolata” aka cooked asparagus with a delicious ball of cheese on top drizzled with olive oil.
By the end of the cooking class, we were surprisingly full despite only eating small, healthy and nutritious meals.
Charlotte explained that this was the best way to eat and it suddenly dawned on me that I didn’t always need to put away a giant bowl of pasta to feel full.
I was also feeling way more confident in the kitchen and proud of what we’d achieved, (considering our skills before the lesson ranged from popping a box in a microwave to ordering Menulog on our phones!)
It had been such a fun experience and I was so glad to have had Gen as my sous chef- the fact that we were both hilariously hopeless but willing to give everything a go made it all the more fun and we both had the best afternoon.
SO good in fact that I begged the OVI guys to let me share the same experience with one of my followers!
All you’ve gotta do to win a cooking class for you and a friend is:
- Purchase a bottle of OVI Hydration.
- Upload and post an original image (or video), which showcases your ideal summer moment, making sure to include a bottle of OVI. You can either upload it to your own Instagram account (making sure it’s public) or alternatively, share the link as a comment on the OVI Hydration’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/OVIHydrationAustralia
- Don’t forget to tag ALL posts with both @OVIHydration and #InfuseYourSummer
That’s it! That’s all you have to do for your chance for a weekend away and a lesson on becoming a masterchef!
Now, I’m off to find a date to impress!