I was kindly invited to attend one of Miele’s Culinary Experiences from a series of cookery-related events hosted at the Miele Gallery located above their award-winning showroom in Dubai.
Miele, as you may or may not know, are the manufacturer of some rather swanky and super functional household appliances; from gleaming gold-plated cooking devices in their Fire and Ice Collection to industrial washing machines; products totally suited to the needs of the bachelor about town and royal households alike. Their showroom recently won the Middle East Interior Design of the Year: Retail award at the Commercial Interior Design awards and it’s not hard to see why.
On arrival, I was warmly greeted by the lovely Cynthia Farhat, Communication and Events Manager for Meile, who gave me a guided tour of their showroom, talking me through their lifestyle appliances; cookers, oven, steamers, extractor fans, fridges of epic proportions, cooking utensils, coffee machines, washing machines, dishwashers and vacuum cleaners. Pretty impressed to say the least. Miele have set up partnerships with various luxe household brands to help promote their appliances, e.g. only wash your La Perla undies in their fancy washing machines!
I was then taken upstairs past their coffee bar and mini-museum of vintage originals like their original product, the milk churn, a Miele motorbike and retro poster ads, into the big open plan multi-use area, the Miele Gallery. The Gallery, comprising fully-Miele-kitted out kitchen stations, meeting area, dinning area and large outdoor terrace, is available to hire for corporate and private functions, accommodating workshops, meetings, team building sessions, parties and the like.
The Culinary Experience I attended was ‘Healthy eating, go local!’ and hosted by our own local Super Chef, Andy Campbell. I’ve heard about Andy previously so was excited to meet him and steal his top tips for cooking delicious healthy food with locally sourced ingredients; both ethos’ that are just my cup of tea!
Now onto the good stuff, the food…
Andy got us started with pasta making; saffron tortellini with ricotta and spinach to be exact. I’d never made pasta from scratch and it was delighted to find it so easy-peasy, never again will I buy pasta…just a pasta machine! No wonder the Italians live on the stuff, it’s so cheap and easy to make. Once rolled super thin with the help of a pasta machine, our delightful saffron-coloured pasta was cut into circles, filled with a small dollop of filling mixture made with local ricotta from Sharja and wilted local organically grown spinach, and pinched into the classic tortellini-shape. The shaping bit was the hardest part of the process, but we all managed to pull together some reasonable looking pasta parcels to feast on.
Once cooked in a large pan of water, the tortellini was served with a butternut squash veloute, shavings of fresh Parmesan and a drizzle of Andy’s precious truffle oil. A veloute being one of the five great ‘mother’ sauces of French cuisine and so named due to its velvety texture. Again the sauce was pretty simple to make; the squash was cubed and sautéed in a little oil, adding grated Parmesan, crème fraiche and a little nutmeg when soft, then whizzed together in a blender and pushed through a sieve for that velvety texture. So simple and so good; the sauce had a beautiful earthy wholesome flavor that complimented the spinach and ricotta tortellini perfectly. I had thought the combination might be a bit heavy, but as a small starter of four or five tortellini it was just right to keep hunger at bay whilst we cooked the main course…
Our main course was a plump fillet of line-caught wild sea bass, served with a tomato and mushroom salsa and green beans. The green beans where quick cooked in a pan of boiling water until just tender. Then for the salsa; halved cherry tomatoes and shimaji mushrooms were added to the sautéed onions and garlic in a frying pan together with chopped basil and parsley. The salsa was literally just warmed through for three to four minutes, then this was transferred to an oven proof dish and kept warm in the oven whilst we cooked the fish. The seasoned sea bass fillet was fried in a slug of olive oil skin-side down until cooked two thirds of the way through, and then flipped and finished off for another few minutes. Then we got to eat it! Another success, a light and delicious meal that tasted fresh and healthy. The cherry tomatoes burst in your mouth, the mushrooms add an earthy element against the green crispness of the green beans, and not forgetting the sea bass, which tasted delicate and fresh, and really was perfectly cooked.
Whilst we ate, Andy very kindly knocked us up an exfoliating and nourishing facemask from some avocado, fruit, berries, a bit of honey and oats that he had lying around the kitchen.
I had a great time. The showroom and gallery are great spaces, and the idea of holding the cooking lessons and exhibitions in the gallery is such a great way for bringing people together, getting them talking about and experimenting with food, oh and show off the Miele appliance! Andy is a great chef and teacher, he bought the small class together well, was attentive and shared his knowledge and truffle oil generously!
Big thanks to Shamal Marketing Communication for putting me in touch with Miele.
Tel: +971 0434 18444
Chef Andy Campbell