“Exploring the Caucasus”

So last Sunday I went to a cooking class. There is a bit of a story here so I’ll just go ahead and tell it first before I get down to describing what we made in the class. So at my university for each graduating class there’s a list of things to complete before graduation. The number of items on the list in any given year corresponds with one’s graduation year so mine is a “113 things to do”. You guessed right, attending a cooking class (at the International Centre) is one of them. So I signed up for a class entitled “The Best of Georgia” and my unimaginative mind didn’t realize it was Georgia the country, and not the state . I have no excuse right ?, it was the International centre so I should have known that. Needlessly to say I was surprised when I saw the menu when I arrived at the class on Sunday. I really enjoyed the class despite the initial confusion and I can’t wait to try all of these recipes again on my own. All the pictures I took at the class were with my phone so the quality is not amazing but bear with me.

The first thing we made was a cheesy bread called Hatchapurri. It was delightful and really simple to prepare. Apparently you can make this in one large pie  but we each made ours individually, I think I prefer making them in little individual buns. To serve 16 you’ll need

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  • 1 package (two sheets) of puff pastry
  • 3-4 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 8oz package of feta cheese
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Oil, for greasing pan

Instructions: Grease a large rimmed baking sheet and preheat the oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one sheet of puff pastry into a rectangle the size of the baking tray. If you opt to make the individual ones, like we did, cut the puff pastry into equal squares before you roll. Then each individual square should be rolled to a rectangle of about 4″x5″. Spread the mozzarella and feta cheeses evenly over pastry, leaving a thin border. For the large pie option, you will then roll the other sheet of puff pastry to the same size and lay it over cheese and pinch the edges tightly together to seal it.  Make sure it’s tightly sealed or the cheese will leak out like most of ours did!. For the individual ones, you will fold each edge over to the middle and pinch. With a pastry brush, brush the top with the beaten egg and poke all over with a fork end. Bake the pie or pies until crisp and golden brown, this would be about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Next we made a Tomato and Cucumber Salad. This was the simplest thing we made but it is neck to neck with the complicated Napoleon Cake for my favourite of the day. To serve 4 people:


  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled and cubed
  • 1 Italian sweet pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 6 sprigs of cilantro, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vinegar

Place all ingredients in a large salad bowl and toss. Our instructor eyeballed the amount of olive oil and vinegar that went in this recipe but I estimate that it was 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of vinegar. I’ll try those amounts when I make this again and will update this if necessary.

The last thing we made was a Chicken dish and I’ll share the recipe for that in another post once I’ve got the chance to try and make it again. This is because it was my least favourite thing we made and I suspect it is because we did not have enough of the marinade to rub on the chicken or leave it to marinate overnight as the recipe indicated. In any case, I’ll keep y’all updated on that.

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Finally, our instructor threw together a Napoleon Cake for dessert and I LOVED it. I say “threw together” because it was not on the original menu she had planned and decided last minute i.e. the night before,  to make it for dessert . So, she had prepped all the ingredients and just assembled it in a matter of minutes. She didn’t share the recipe for this since it was so last minute, is a bit time consuming, and it’s a secret family recipe she said. In any case, challenge accepted. I already found some recipes online and I can’t wait to experiment. It’s made with puff pastry and what I would call a Russian buttercream filling that’s made with sweetened condensed milk, milk, corn starch, flour, and butter amongst other things. I really enjoyed it and I hope when I try it comes out just as tasty as hers.

All in all, I’m super glad I attended the cooking class and can now check it off my list. More so, it was fun to make new things that I would probably have never made otherwise. And, of course I met some cool people.


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