Sunday, July 08, 2012

Kahvliahvi Kokakool aka Kitchen Monkey's Cookery School

Here's a children's poem in Estonian, written by Heljo Mänd in 1960s, describing small elephant's Bumbu's birthday party in the jungle, where monkeys were eating wafers ("vahvel" in Estonian) and the crocodiles were eating forks ("kahvel" in Estonian). If you combine the monkeys and the forks of this poem, you'll get kahvliahvid aka kitchen/fork monkeys.

kära täis on džungel.
Sünnipäev on Bumbul,

pidulaual kringel.
Ahvid pistsid vahvleid,
krokodillid kahvleid.

limonaad on kange,
jookseb mööda lonti
justkui sada tonti.


Couple of weeks ago I got a phone call from a well-known journalist and party organiser, asking to give a cookery demo to a group of kids and their parents at a small music festival in a small Estonian town of Kilingi-Nõmme.  The workshop, called Kahviahvi Kokakool ("Fork Monkey's Cooking School", or probably better translated as "Kitchen Monkeys"), was to have four cookery sessions/demonstrations, and I was asked to give one of them. I agreed - it was a chance to get out of town and listen to some nice music in fresh air before and after the cooking demo. We were discussing the possible menu options, taking into consideration what the other sessions were focusing on, and finally agreed I'd teach the kids and their parents (26 in total) how to make cold soups. Not your usual gazpacho, mind you, but a kefir and a buttermilk soup, respectively - one savoury, one sweet.

It's summer, after all! As it turned out to be a really hot on Saturday (the music festival and the culinary workshops took place on Saturday, July 7th), cold soups seemed to have been a wise choice indeed :)

My cold summer soup workshop was at 5.30 pm, third one of the afternoon:

I tied the apron strings and was ready to begin. Note the sweet monkey-fork/fork-monkey design:

The kids were all anxiously waiting and ready to start chopping:

We began with the savoury kefir soup. Basically we made this chlodnik, but adding beets/beetroots and grated horseradish was optional, and everybody added some cooked mortadella-style sausages as well, to make the soup a bit more substantial. I must admit that about 3/4th of the kids asked for both the beets and the horseradish, which made me very happy indeed :)

Small (and some slightly bigger) kitchen monkeys in action. Note the high concentration of fathers - at least four - who were accompaning their children:

My role was to make sure everyone has understood the instructions and are progressing nicely:

Cutting the sausages into small dice for the soup requires some serious focusing and concentration:

Me, making sure that everyone got some vitamin-rich green onions:

Here's a close-up of the cold kefir soup with scallions/green onions, finely chopped sausages, beets and cucumbers (you can only guess there's beetroot at present at this point, as the stirring of the soup was a serious and time-consuming job as well):

Once everyone had finished making and eating their cold kefir soup, it was time to start making the dessert. I had chosen the wonderfully summery Danish buttermilk and strawberry soup koldskål - you'll find the recipe here on Nami-Nami. We did use kama cereal balls instead of crushed biscuits/cookies, however.

The main component - local Estonian strawberries, which are at their peak just now:

Mint, destined as garnish of the cold buttermilk-strawberry soup (lemon balm works just as well)

 Choosing the prettiest strawberries for the buttermilk-strawberry soup:

Here's our daughter (3 y 5 m) enjoying the buttermilk-strawberry soup she made all by herself:

Thank you, Merle Liivak, Kahvliahvi Kokakool & Schilling, for inviting me! I had a lovely day indeed :)

All photos by my food-blogging friend Liina Vahter .


aniitram said...

Nii uhke, Pille. :) Jaksu!

Kirsike said...

Thanks Pille for great demo :) It made me so happy to see my man and daughters preparing soups and afterwards eating it :) Only thing I am sorry is that my kids were among this small group who didnt want to get beetroot and horseradish into their soup:(

PS My daughters (escp Natalie:)) are delighted that you posted so nice pictures of them into your great blog :)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I'm awe struck at the beauty and concentration of those students!

Pille said...

Aniitram, kas üritus on uhke või mina? ;) Aitäh igatahes!

Kirsike - well, they'll grow and discover beetroot and horseradish one day, I bet :)

Tanna - I was impressed as well. I was trying not to make it a kiddy-workshop - all the kids had knives and were allowed to choose themselves whatever they wanted into their soups, so it was serious business..

Gloria Baker said...

aahh yours kids are soooo cute ! love the pics!