Treated to amazing Pakistani cuisine at Cooking Circles Canberra


Last Sunday Cooking Circles hosted a small in-home lunch when Hina introduced us to her passion for Pakistani cuisine and treated us to a delicious lunch of dishes lovingly and delicately prepared.

Hina is originally from Pakistan where she grew up. She first learned cooking from her mother and now continues to learn from cooking shows, recipe books, the internet and shared recipes from others. Cooking is her passion and her we would say…her gift!

As Hina created and chatted we enjoyed wine and canapés and often jumped in to work along side her.

She started on the Rasmalai dessert as it needed to chill in the fridge. It is a dough of full cream milk powder, ghee and egg  rolled and flattened into small discs and poached in milk and sugar reduced and infused with cardamom.

Next Hina started of the Beef Seekh Kabab, roasting and grinding spices and chickpeas to add to the mince, chill and shape for frying.

Lastly the complex dum style Chicken Biryani. Rice boiled with spices is layered with chicken and potatoes (first boiled with spices) cooked in a fragrant spiced yogurt and tomato gravy, along with crisp onion and other flavourings.

It is topped with a special essence and some orange food colour (in lieu of the expensive saffron). Lastly it goes back on the stove with the lid for all the flavours to infuse through.

Wow! What a feast we enjoyed.

And as Hina said “I can’t believe I made that”!

How lucky were we that Cathy introduced her friend Hina to Cooking Ciricles. Can’t wait for Hina to cook for us again!

Many thanks to Ruth Ellison who generously shared her photos!

Indian Cooking lesson 3- Dal with Zucchini and Cauliflower Stuffed Paratha


Another differently textured and flavoured curry to add to a vegetarian feast repertoire is a classic dal.

At her Sunday afternoon Aroma and Spice Indian cuisine cooking lessons, Vinnys shows how to prepare a very good channa dal with zucchini ( or long melon) …..

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….with cauliflower stuffed parathas to accompany it.


Like the other parathas Vinnys has taught, the parathas can be made ahead even frozen and are quick and easy to create.

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The dishes planned for the next two lessons are:

Sunday 18 October

Raita, Lentil Parantha stuffed with Spinach and chick pea salad

Sunday 25 October

Butter Paneer and a Naan bread

Email Vinnys if you’re interested in joining in:


A second lesson with Aroma and Spice, Canberra – Smoked Eggplant dip/side and fenugreek parathas


Having successfully created the Potato and Spinach Curry at home that Vinnys taught in the first lesson, it’s great to learn a new side dish/entrée dip to go with it.


Vinnys helpfully demonstrates how to smoke the eggplant on the stove and even offers to source the special pans to use at home.

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Quick and easy, using tinned tomatoes, red chilli and coriander also with conveniently the same spices as the Potato & Spinach Curry, the dip comes together perfectly.

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Serve with breads as an entrée or side dish.


But also very handy, is knowing how to create the parathas. These layered breads can even be cooked ahead and frozen, before heating on a pan ready to serve.


There are several techniques for creating the layers and Vinnys shows several.

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Using just a few simple ingredients, they can be fancied up with herbs or made richer by adding butter to melt on the cooked parathas.

Stuffed parathas are also another possibility, but that’s a treat for another lesson.

For details of upcoming lessons email Vinnys on

Aroma & Spice – An Indian vegetarian Cooking Journey right here in Canberra!


If you’ve ever wanted to master a few great authentic Indian dishes to wow your friends and family, without spending a fortune, then Vinnys’ home style cooking lessons, is for you.

Spending time with Vinnys in her kitchen as she shares her favourite recipes and provides great tips about where to source the ingredients locally, is a treat.

Being a busy, working woman, she has adapted her mothers’ timeless recipes to be quick, easy and healthy, while still retaining their unique and special flavours and textures.

Indian home style cooking is healthier and more flavoursome and varied than many of the well-known restaurant dishes which also tend to be higher in fat and salt.

This delicious North Indian Potato, Spinach and Tomato Curry is great served with rice for everyday meals….

…..but it also becomes very special when served with hot puffy Pooris.

A series of five lessons with Vinnys covers a range of dishes including vegetable curries, dahls and versatile dips as well as classic breads like pooris, parathas and chapattis.

Booking is flexible and you can attend one of more classes at $25 per class ($120 for five).

Grab a few friends and make it a social event.

Groups are kept small so that everyone has a good opportunity to learn and take home the dish of the day to enjoy for dinner.

It’s like having a good friend share the secrets of their special recipes and step you through to create them yourself.

Sundays 4pm in Bruce.

Contact Vinnys for more details.



Cooking Mexico – Andrea’s passion for Canberra


Andrea Rodriguez started Cooking Mexico to share her passion for Mexican cuisine with Australia. Now based in Canberra she launched her Cooking Mexico cooking sessions today at the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets. Participants were treated to Mexican coffee and a two course lunch as Andrea demonstrated and served Black Bean Soup and Green Chilaquiles, two simple, traditional dishes using classic Mexican ingredients sourced in Canberra.


Andrea demonstrating and sharing Mexican culture and tradition


Epazote herb used in the Black Bean Soup


Tinned green tomatoes


Green Chilaquiles with Pulled Chicken


Mexican coffee flavoured with cinnamon and vanilla sugar to start


Warming black bean soup garnished with sour cream, Avocado, corn chips, feta and a roasted smokey/chocolate flavoured dried chilli

My thanks to Andrea who included me today in her cooking session as a guest.