Although I haven’t been doing much cooking since we have been in Chiang Mai we decided to do a cooking class. I enjoy cooking and we both love Thai food!   We have done one in the past but this one was held at a ‘farm’, more like a garden really and we just felt like having a day organised for us.

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We went with the Thai Farm cooking school group for a whole day. They picked us up in a mini van at about 8:30 and we drove to a local market out of town where our ‘teacher’ had a chat about fish sauce, soya sauce and some of the ingredients typically found in a Thai market.

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Bruce and I enjoyed having time to wander around another market, taking photos and generally having a sticky beak at things. It is the first time we had seen an assortment of bugs for sale! Unfortunately neither of us had the desire or courage to taste test.

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OK, enough bug photos, and on to the wet/meat market section, which is always interesting if not a bit gruesome.

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We drove north of Chiang Mai into the countryside past water buffalos and rice fields to the little farm. The farm was really more like a very large garden which grew herbs such as chives, different types of coriander and basil as well as some different types of chillies and eggplants.

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Our guide and teacher was called Wass and was very bubbly and a little bit cheeky, which was entertaining!

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Anyway you get to choose what you would like to learn to cook from a given selection – a type of paste/curry, soup, stir fry, entre and dessert.  Then as the day progresses, you are shown how to prepare each dish and get to eat them. Needless to say we had to get a Thai style doggie bag as there was so much food and we were full after the soup.

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We are lucky in Darwin that most if not all of the ingredients are easily available at Nightcliff and Rapid Creek markets but some people from other countries said they would have difficulty getting some of the ingredients. The basis for most of the dishes was chillies, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime and fish or soya sauce.

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Bruce and I chose to make different things so we could learn how to cook and to sample a range dishes. We also learnt to make the curry pastes from scratch.

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Bruce made a yellow curry with turmeric which was delicious, Tom Yum soup with shrimps, sweet and sour stir fried chicken, spring rolls and then banana in coconut milk for dessert.

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I made green curry, chicken and galangal coconut soup, fried chicken with basil leaves, Pad Thai and mango with sticky rice for dessert. It was all delicious although I wasn’t fussed about the desserts, especially as I’m not keen on sweet rice or dessert really.

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I took a lot of photos to try and remember the steps, but we were given a lovely recipe book at the end of the course with all the recipes and little descriptions and photographs of the ingredients.

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It was a pleasant way to spend the day and later we had our left overs warmed up in the microwave for dinner!

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