A Perfect Pantry

Cooking Course - Soups, Stews & Slow Cooking

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    We recently attended the Soups, Stews and Slow Cooking course at the Hospitality Establishment. The menu on the night included 3 main dishes and a dessert; Chicken Cacciatore, Irish Lamb Stew, Vietnamese Duck Wonton Soup and for dessert we made Poached Pears. These were perfect considering the freezing weather outside.


    For the Irish Stew and Chicken Cacciatore, Tony and Garth gave the class an overview of the benefits of cooking some of the meals in both the slow cooker and pressure cooker. They demonstrated the versatility of slow cooking and pressure cooking using Kambrook appliances.


    Tony and Garth explained the simplicity of one pot cooking and pointed out how using appliances can still give you the enriched flavours compared to traditional stove top cooking. The key is about using the right cooking techniques to bring out the flavours in all stews and soups at the beginning of the cooking process. The base ingredients for most soups and stews include carrots, onion and garlic. Plus, I learnt two great cooking tips to enrich the flavours of my dishes at home:

    1) Mixing salt into the garlic when crushing the garlic could avoid burning the base ingredients in any meal.

    2) Always sauté onions before adding garlic as the garlic has a higher sugar content.


    The poached pears were delicious! I would never have thought to cook poached pears in a frypan! Usually when poaching there is a lot of condensation build up, so a simple tip from Garth is to add baking paper placed between the lid and the pears. The paper will absorb all the moisture and make the pears extra soft and juicy. Nom nom nom.

    My favourite dish from the night was the Vietnamese Wonton Soup. The broth was simple to make and tasted like a traditional Chinese soup, taking me back to the food I have tasted in China. We all made our own wontons and practiced our folding techniques.

    Here are two wonderful recipes from the course to try for yourself.


    Vietnamese Duck Wonton Soup



    • 1 BBQ duck
    • 1 L water
    • 1 chicken gel stock
    • 2 tbs oyster sauce
    • 1 pack wonton wrappers
    • pinch white pepper
    • 3 green shallots, chopped
    • ¼ bunch coriander
    • 2 tbs roasted garlic
    • 1 pinch white sugar
    • 1 bunch Chinese broccoli
    • 1 tbs light soy sauce
    • 2 lemongrass stalks
    • 1 small knob ginger
    • 1 red onion
    • 3 lime leaves


    1. Shred duck from bones and put to the side
    2. Place the bones of the duck with the water and chicken gel stock into a large saucepan, add aromats (lemongrass, ginger, red onion, lime leaves, some light soy and sugar) and bring to the boil, allowing to simmer for 30 minutes.
    3. To make the wontons, mix shredded duck with oyster sauce and a pinch of white pepper. Place a small amount of the mix in the centre of each wonton wrapper and fold in half to make a rectangle. Press the edges together to seal the wonton. Fold the sealed edge down, and then take the two bottom corners and pinch together at the back.
    4. Strain broth into a separate pot, add 1 tbs oyster sauce, white sugar, salt, half the green shallots and half the roasted garlic. Heat until boiling and then add wontons to broth and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Once cooked, remove wontons and place in serving dishes.
    5. Place Chinese broccoli in simmering stock to cook for about 2 minutes.
    6. Pour stock and broccoli carefully over the wontons and finish with coriander, remaining garlic and green shallots.


    Poached Pears



    • 4 pears
    • 1L water
    • ¼ cup white sugar
    • 2 cinnamon sticks
    • 1 lemon
    • low fat yoghurt, to serve


    1. Peel and core pears
    2. Place water, cinnamon and sugar in a pot and bring to the boil.
    3. Add pears and lemon in the pot making sure the pears are completely covered with the mixture.
    4. Turn heat down and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
    5. Cover with a cartouche (baking paper, covering pot to keep steam in)
    6. Allow pears to cool down in the syrup.
    7. Serve with low fat yoghurt


    For more course details from the Hospitality Establishment, visit their website:


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