I was recently selected to participate in a Blogging Challenge by People’s Association where I was invited to take advantage of the workshops held at the local community clubs in exchange for blogging about them (No, I did not get any cash for this. If only I could pay my electricity bills with social currency).
For the uninformed, the People’s Association in Singapore is a government initiative, with the interest of bringing the community together be it for grassroots or enrichment purposes. For this reason, community centers (CC) are built around suburban housing estates. Here’s a fun fact: Back in the 1960′s, people who lived in the neighborhood would gather at these clubs to watch communal television because not everyone could afford a 42″ flat screen plasma TV. While it sounds like a relatively painful time for the chronic channel surfer, remote hogger that I am, I am sure hurling abuse at the on-screen villain with your neighbors makes for a very bonding experience.
Thankfully, the CCs offerings have widened since. From wine appreciation classes, language courses, salsa dancing, hatha yoga to make up tutorials by former beauty queens and my nanny’s favorite taichi & line dancing, the list of courses and activities offered is extensive. Government subsidies also make prices affordable.For the full list, head over to their handy mobile-friendly website here.
For this challenge, I’ve selected a cooking class, a meridian points workshop and…don’t laugh… a hiphop dance class and I’ll be blogging about them over the course of the next few weeks. I’m real excited because I’m usually such a nerd about trying about new things.
And so my new life as a ‘well known‘ self-important blogger begins…*flicks hair back overdramatically*
Gourmet Cooking with Chef Eric Low at Buona Vista Community Center
Being a foodie and Iron Chef wannabe, it was only natural for me to select a cooking class. Chef Eric Low might not be Anthony Bourdain but he sure is a cool cat. Highlights of his culinary career include cooking for Roger Moore, Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone and even his royal highness, Sir Elton John.
Back to the cooking class.
Because I picked an early morning slot: 10.30am – 1pm, my classmates were mostly sweet middle aged to elderly ladies with files & note books, personalized with inspirational cooking quotes, which they used to keep recipes and take down notes. It was pretty cute to see how enthusiastic they were about it. Most brought fancy cameras to snap photos of the chef in action – bringing my dinky Nikon to shame again.
As part of PA’s Global Flavors cooking theme, the focus of the class was on Taiwanese Street Snacks: of which we learned Crispy XXL Chicken, Taiwanese Prata & Lu Rou Fan which is braised minced pork with rice. I’ll pretty much let the pictures do the talking from here on and pepper it with irrelevant commentary.
Other fun things I learned in the class:
1. How to bake rice if your rice cooker keels on you. (oven at 180deg for 30 minutes)
2. Double frying only works if your fryer is hot enough. Fry your stuff one at a time so the temperature in the pan doesn’t dip too much.
3. MSG doesn’t make you lose your hair & thirsty. Sodium does. The Guardian wrote a pretty interesting article about it which you can read here.
While I would have loved a hands-on approach to this class, we wouldn’t have been able to cram 3 different snacks into a session if we did. I smelt like a hawker center after the lesson but it was well worth it. If you’re keen on classes, be sure to check out http://www.ourcommunity.sg – I’m all psyched up for the hiphop class which happens next (I think) and I am sure it will be as hilarious and embarrassing as I’d imagine it to be especially since I am a non-committal dancer who enjoys pretending to look bored in clubs and sidestepping to Indie music.
I’m off to practice my booty shaking moves but in the mean time be sure to leave silly comments because somewhere down the line, I’m also going to stand a chance at winning an iPad 2 and lord knows, being a BlackBerry user I need to get integrated with apple apps.