What a wonderful afternoon we had on Sunday! Tim and I went along to Momica and Anita’s from Manchester’s own Spice Club. The afternoon started around 2pm at their home in North Manchester. There were 6 of us in total – and a lovely group at that! I was surprised at the 4:2 ratio – more men than ladies for this one!

Firstly, Monica and Anita were the perfect hostesses. They made you feel right at home and were so welcoming. At no stage did I feel that we were invading or intruding in their home. Between the two of them, you couldn’t help but feel excited. This was fuelled by Monica’s enthusiasm and Anita’s infectious and bubbly personality.

Before I go into the details, let me tell you how we found ourselves there at all. At the start of the year, I was still in South Africa, but Tim had already flown back to the UK. I got a text from him to say that he was watching the Hairy Bikers on the BBC. (Our favourite cooking programme). Not only were the Hairy Bikers in Manchester, but they were visiting the Vegetarian Society, which is literally around the corner from where we live. Next, he told me that they were in Manchester, and that they were visiting a Mum and Daughter duo who were doing Supper Clubs, Cooking Courses and Pop-up Restaurants in Manchester. As I couldn’t watch the programme from South Africa, I went onto their website … and booked us each a place on the next cooking course before the programme was over!

And how pleased am I that we did. We’ve also put our names down for the next Supper Club, as they are currently fully booked!

Back to the course: I was so excited that we were going to learn how to make chappatis (I think in South Africa we call them roti)! Somehow I thought they would be very very difficult to do. But, I was mistaken! They were quite easy, once you know how. And we all had the opportunity to muck in. Did you know that they have only 2 ingredients: chappati flour and water. And, you can make them on the braai (BBQ). How cool is that?

Next we made raita, the yoghurt, cucumber, onion and roasted cumin accompaniment. Anita doesn’t believe in using any low fat products, so the creamy texture of the greek yoghurt made it a treat and a half!

Thereafter we moved onto the Jeera Pilau Rice. I was the self-appointed onion chopper, as my contact lenses mean that I don’t cry when chopping them. Althroughout, the flavours from the kitchen were amazing, enticing and hunger-inducing. This was a relatively easy and straightforward dish to make. I shall certainly be trying my hand at that soon.

The final dish was Tadka Dal, a yellow(-ish) lentil dish, which was bursting with flavour. As I was a self-confessed disaster when it came to lentil dishes, I was nominated to lead this one in our little group. Anita was going to teach me how to make proper lentils before the day was out. What a success! We still have a portion of left-overs in the fridge. They might also have convinced me that a pressure cooker might be a good investment … Let’s see if its practicality can prevail over my fear for them. I remember my mum’s pressure cooker exploding once when I was a kid! I did think the soup on the ceiling was impressive, but it did give me an eternal fear of pressure cookers!

If you are interested in knowing more about Monica, Anita and The Spice CLub, you can find them on Twitter: @TheSpiceClub or go their website: www.spiceclubmanchester.com

I shall try and add a linke to their YouTube clip from the Hairy Bikers, shortly.

… and here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJVDsp6LRj8