In a pickle: Learning the art of preserving at Oded’s Kitchen

About a month ago, the friendly folk from Oded’s Kitchen asked me if I’d like to come along to one of their preserving courses at their shop in Woodstock (in the Biscuit Mill complex).  On the cards: a 4-hour hands-on workshop making 3 different types of preserves – marmalade (Brown Sugar 3-Citric), salsa (3-Tomato) and a pickle (Tannie Zelda’s).

Now, to say that I love pickles is a wild understatement, and as Oded’s pickles and preserves are amongst my very favourite (if not the favourite) on offer around Cape Town, I was uber keen to learn from the maestro himself.  So of course I jumped at the opportunity.

In case you haven’t yet encountered Oded’s Kitchen, here’s a little bit of background:

“Oded’s Kitchen is the culmination of many years of research and a deep love of ancient techniques. Cooking and food lore are used to produce innovative, vibrant and individual flavours that are designed to add an instant gourmet touch to any meal.

Oded’s Kitchen is much more than a condiment provider – it is an organically growing and creative environment which will teach, amuse and entertain with cooking classes, gastronomic experiences, tours and a range of Jewish style speciality foods…

As a company we fully promote the philosophies of the slow food movement; whenever possible we use organically produced, local ingredients and environmentally friendly packaging materials. No artificial preservatives are added and we strive to use the best ingredients around.”

Oded Schwartz is a master preserver who has written several books on the topic, including the definite ‘Preserving‘.  His knowledge is vast, and his enthusiasm contagious – he’ll try just about anything, once.

The course was great fun.  We were a small group (they take a maximum of 8 people) and so we all got to get stuck in, chopping and slicing, dicing and squeezing, as Oded guided us through the three different recipes (for the recipes visit Add To Taste).  We made a beautiful orange marmalade (with coriander in it, yum!), an awesome simple vegetable pickle, and a delicious (spicy!) tomato salsa – one of each of which we got to take home and enjoy later on.

What I loved was that even a complete preserving newbie like myself could follow the instructions, and end up with something delicious (okay, I didn’t really do that much on my own, but it all made sense to me, and I think I could probably replicate most of it now that I understand how it’s supposed to work).  Oded is friendly and ever-so-knowledgeable, and loves answering whatever questions you might have.

I didn’t pay for my workshop this time around, but I would gladly have done so, and will definitely be doing some more in future.  The R400 for the course includes 3 big jars of delicious self-made preserves to take home, and a lovely lunch of home-made pates and whatever else they’ve created for the occasion.

And if you’re not into getting hands-on, you can find Oded’s Kitchen’s wares at various markets around Cape Town, as well as in an increasing number of outlets.  Highly recommended, and there’s always something new on the go (Oded is somewhat experimental!).

Workshop details:

Oded’s Kitchen will be running all kinds of workshops in the months ahead.  Coming up this weekend is the Traditional Jewish Cooking Class on Sunday the 29th of August 2010.

Location:

Oded’s Kitchen is located at The Old Biscuit Mill, 373 Albert Rd, Salt River, Cape Town.   Visit odeds-kitchen.blogspot.com for more information or contact Lewis via email (Lewis@odeds-kitchen.co.za) or phone 021 447 0400.

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