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Mish's Dishes Cooking School

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by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe to my articles. I'll update you with lots of fun and often free adventures in your home town.
Published August 16th 2015
Good food made easy and fun

The skills of celebrity chefs can seem a bit daunting but Mish is a different kind of cook.

She qualified from the William Angliss College of Hospitality and has worked at some high-end catering companies but at all times she is down to earth and approachable.

The cooking skills she passes on are definitely within reach and she demonstrates her culinary art in the most amusing ways possible.

Mish beats and banters, whisks and wise-cracks. She doesn't believe in sifting but she certainly sprinkles -- thyme, sunflower seeds, anecdotes and snippets of advice; all while showing you how to whip up a wonderment of delights that you will definitely be able to replicate in your own kitchen.

A group of about ten of us sat in awe as Mish demonstrated her skills in home baking. In two and half hours she whizzed through not one or two but six dishes, all doable and delicious.

Kitchen timers were sounding off all over the place. There was a flurry of bowls, wooden spoons, good old fashioned electric beaters and food processors but with the super organised Mish everything was pre weighed, measured and under control.

And with all the flurry of movement, Mish's zany sense of humour, not to mention her Irish jig, and the anticipation about what was coming out of the oven, there was never a moment of boredom for her audience as we sat and watched from the other side of her granite-kitchen bench.

Most of Mish's cookery classes are hands on but this one just happened to be a demonstration. Just as well as none of us would ever have kept up with the pace.

And thankfully Mish gave out the recipes so we knew we could move through her delicious delights at our own snail-like pace in our own kitchens.

This zesty little dynamo of a cook was originally from Dublin so she included a couple of her favourite Irish dishes.

Her traditional Irish brown bread was full of goodness such as wholemeal flower, linseed, pumpkin and sesame seeds and a dash of treacle.

No need for kneading, bread makers or allowing the bread to rise. Mish showed us how to make a dough to the consistency of a thick porridge, tumble the contents into a loaf tin, and then set the timer and forget for an hour. Then out it came - a mound of goodness, sliced and served under a pat of yellow, melting butter.

Another Irish dish was a family favourite passed down through the generations - the up-side-down tomato and basil tart.

This dish seemed almost ridiculously easy but was simply stunning to look at, great as a family favourite or an impressive dinner party treat. It started with slices of fresh tomato, placed in circles at the bottom of the round baking dish with a little sugar to neutralise the acid from the tomato (one of Mish's many practical tips). This was followed by a can of diced tomatoes that had been drained for around 20 minutes to remove all watery juice and then sprinkled with chopped basil.

On all this cherry redness Mish then added a mixture of freshly grated parmesan and cheddar cheeses, flour, unsalted butter, eggs and seasonings. There was no rolling of pastry required as the pastry forms by itself in the oven. As Mish said "This pastry is so forgiving of any mistakes. I like things that are forgiving - especially husbands."

After 35 minutes the tart was done. We watched with bated breath as Mish expertly turned it over and unleashed all the goodness so the tomatoes were now the top rather than the bottom layer. She then made them glisten with a slight spray of olive oil and decorated the whole with fresh basil leaves. Yummo. This was the definite star of the evening despite some pretty impressive support acts.

She also put another loaf in the oven. This one was studded with capsicum and olives and sprinkled with thyme and salt flakes. Again, no kneading required or waiting around for it to rise.

Then there were sweet treats. Lemon custard squares. This was a dish Mish made look easy as it was simply whipped egg whites, sugar, butter and some plain flour. The dry ingredients came together with some lukewarm milk and then fresh lemon juice and zest. It looked a muddle going in but was transformed in the oven into a golden brown masterpiece.

When the bulk was sliced into delicate small squares you could see how it had formed into a distinct base, a lemon custard centre and then a thin upper crust. It looked magnificent dusted with icing sugar.

She kept it coming. Next were Moroccan palmiers. This was the only rolled out pastry dish and even though it was an involved dish Mish made it look easy. The interesting shape was formed by rolling the dates and cream cheese that has been baptised with a sprinkling of orange blossom water into long rolls. These rolls were firmed up in the fridge, and then thinly sliced so the various fanned layers came out looking like cute pigs' ears.

Finally there was the salty chocolate and ginger bites. No biscuit cutters required, just small rolled baked balls, internally studded with candied ginger and dark chocolate pieces and then drizzled with white chocolate. Impressive, easy and yum.

Then the moment we had all been waiting for. We all sat down at a beautifully decorated table to enjoy Mish's dishes.

Through the evening, as well as being fed and entertained, Mish passed on many tricks of the trade.

My husband will love the fact that Mish showed us how to cut down having lots of crusty, sticky dishes to wash up; put baking paper under everything including the Sunday roast. For anything sticky, such as treacle, make sure you spray your measuring cups and spoons with an oil spray.

Mish was also savvy about saving money. Not only were her lessons very moderately priced but I noticed she made the most of Aldi ingredients such as their dates, naked crystallised ginger and dark chocolate. So unlike many celebrity chefs, she does not encourage you to go out and spend a fortune on ingredients.

The baking course is just one of Mish's many regular offerings. Posh Nosh is coming up on the 27th August and is also held throughout the year. This class shows you how to entertain easily with wow type dishes that don't cost the earth including baked cheese souffle pancakes, fennel schnitzel, ballotine rolls with balsamic reduction, meted out with instructions on how to make the perfect salad and a sensational dessert.

Other classes include Chinese cooking, fresh pasta making and pizza workshops , when her ever-forgiving husband Gav, boots up the outside pizza oven he built, and then the class gets to make, and more importantly eat, gourmet thin crusted pizzas.

Mish also has her finger into a number of other pies - literally! She does team bonding sessions of 10-15 people. What could bring workmates together more than preparing a meal together, interspersed with fun and games from Mish and then the bonding of sitting down together for a fine meal.

Mish also runs cooking themed birthday parties such as Japanese, Italian, Mexican, Mad Hatters Tea Party and Animals. Kids also really take to her food art sessions where they finally get to play with their food.

She always runs some great events during the school holidays. The forthcoming ones are called Bee Happy, where all dishes, both sweet and savoury, have honey in them. Mish is really fun, a born entertainer, so the kids will really enjoy these sessions which include lots of games to keep them entertained.

And because so many kids have allergies these days children's classes are nut and seed free. Mish's own children have similar allergies so she is very aware of the need for such precautions. Many of her classes are also vegetarian depending on preferences.

Then there is the Fathers Day class with kids. Nothing like family bonding over food. In fact at Mish's reasonable prices this is better value than simply having a meal out as the whole family really gets to interact while still eating some gorgeous food.

Mishs dishes
Photo Credit: Mish's Dishes Facebook

Mish also takes on challenges. The other night a mother brought her daughter in. The twenty year old had missed out on the cooking experience and was now eager to learn. Mish taught her how to cook some healthy meals now she is at an age where she was cooking for herself.

So, in short, home cooking is for everyone at Mish's Dishes (Home ) Cooking School.
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Why? Improve your cooking skills and great fun
When: See website for organised classes
Phone: Contact Mish by phone on 0405 477 004 or email
Where: Bentleigh Melbourne, address given when booking
Cost: Classes from $39.00 up
Your Comment
I wish I had known of Mish's class with the Irish Brown Bread + Capsicum/Olives and other recipes. When will she re-run this particular class? It does not appear in the current listings.
by fluffynut (score: 2|783) 941 days ago
Hi, Mish here. I have just run the baking class and, as the year goes on, I try to introduce new classes for adults (and kids). You can check some up-coming classes However, if you would like to have a class repeated, like the baking class then I am happy to organise a private session for you and 9 friends. That way you can decide on the time and date. If you are interested in organising a small group of friends then please let me know so we can lock in a date. I am fully booked up for Sept but I do have available dates in October. Next Thursday I'll be running a class called Posh Nosh, which will be restaurant style food, made easy. All my classes are fun and relaxed and you get to eat everything we make. Please contact me with any questions. Hopefully we'll meet soon Cheers Mish
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (score: 3|4790) 941 days ago
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