A Very Merry Cookmas from Amphigean


What would the Christmas holidays be without trying something new?

The Amphigean team got their chef hats on for our Christmas get together and tried out some Thai cooking for a day of hands-on masterclass learning.


Getting together isn’t always the easiest thing to do. The team can be found nestled in the most distant parts of the country, so for some, meeting in the middle can mean a significant amount of travel. Birmingham finds itself at more or less the centre of our distant parts, so that’s where our masterclass took place, at the Tripadvisor 4-star restaurant and cooking school, Chaophraya.

After battling cancelled trains and broken cars, we eventually found ourselves there and with aprons at the ready.

The team was met with a warm greeting by restaurant staff who run the cooking classes, along with a glass of champagne and a number of cooking stations ready laid out and stocked with ingredients.

The starter

To begin, we were shown how to make spring rolls. Our instructors made cooking the filling look easy, tossing all the important vegetables, spices and oils together as if they’d done it a million times before, (in fact, they told us that they would make thousands most weeks!). Carrots, shredded mushrooms, cabbage and rice noodles were cooked, and the room was filled quickly with some pretty delicious smells. We couldn’t wait to get started on making our own.

But first, a very important lesson on proper folding of spring rolls. Our instructor made light work of finding the correct angle, filling the pastry and folding it as if it were origami before presenting us with a perfectly neat and delicious little package.

Then it was our turn. We had all been listening very intently to the instructions we had been given and put what we remembered into action as we cooked our own vegetables. Spices were added, along with seasoning, (don’t mention salt to Pete) before we had our filling ready to roll.

Then came the tricky bit. We got our fingers loosened ready to put our own little packages together and (for the most part) the team did an excellent job of copying our instructor’s fantastic direction to produce some pretty stellar looking rolls.

The rolls were all numbered for each person before being whisked off to be fried. They would be brought back to a group of hungry chefs a little later on.

The main

Next up was the main, the Thai red curry.
We found ourselves gathered around the instructor’s table once again as we watched her every step in creating the curry. Coconut milk and lots of curry paste, before chicken (or tofu) was added to cook. Vegetables next and courgette and bamboo were added, along with red pepper. This is where the kitchen really started to heat up and we soon started to feel like seasoned Thai chefs. We made our way back to our stations to make our own versions of the curry.

Getting more comfortable now, the team found their own unique takes on the food prep. Some were inclined to add a little more red curry paste than others, some added super-hot chillis to spice it up a little more. Those not as fond of bamboo put in a little less, or a bit more courgette, and we each made our own curry just to our liking.


Once they were fried, our spring rolls were returned to us to decorate. We were given a selection of leaf garnish, some edible flowers and cress, along with sweet chilli dipping sauce to create and finish our plate.

The same went for the curry once it was finished, and we could add edible flowers, some red pepper and basil to finish off what was looking to be a truly spectacular meal.

The best bit

Finally, after all the hard work, we were invited to sit down and to feast. The spring rolls were delicious; crunchy and so very tasty, we could hardly believe that we had made them ourselves. The curry was warm, filling and a superb mix of ingredients that felt so very authentic and was just what we needed after a long day slaving over a hot stove.

After we finished eating, we were each presented with a certificate to acknowledge how fantastic we had all been, and a doggy bag of leftovers to take home with us. Oh, and we got to keep the aprons too!