Welcome to the Real Meal Classes

cooking classHi, I’m Mary Morgan, owner, head chef and webmaster at TheRealMealClasses.com. First of all I would like to welcome you to my blog! Glad you could make it and I hope you find it interesting.

Cooking has been a life-long passion of mine. Some of my earliest and happiest memories are of helping my mother in the kitchen. That passion led me to a successful career as a chef, culminating in an appointment at one of New York’s most prestigious restaurants. I’m very proud of my achievements in what was, and still is, a very male dominated world.

After getting married I decided to move back to my home town of Dallas and start my own business as a personal chef and cooking instructor. My classes place strong emphasis on healthy eating and are designed to help ordinary people become more confident in their cooking abilities. They cover a wide range of practical and theoretical lessons including basic culinary skills and nutrition.

It gives me an immense sense of satisfaction to be able to pass on my knowledge to others, and in doing so empower them to lead healthier and more fulfilled lives. For many years now I have been outspoken in my criticism of the fast food culture that has become such a blight on our society. In some small way, I hope to help bring about a much needed change in our relationship and thinking with regard to food.

This blog is part of that effort to help promote a greater awareness of the importance of a healthy diet. To that end, I post a wide range of food and cooking related content such as recipes, as well as more general informational type articles. I welcome feedback from my readers so please feel free to leave a comment.

What is fondue and how do you make it?

fondue partyWe all enjoy having a great meal with friends or relatives. Fondue is one such meal that is perfectly suited for such a fun and social gathering. But what is fondue? Fondue is a French, Swiss or Italian dish of melted cheese that is served in a shared pot commonly known as a fondue pot, which is usually placed on a chafing stand that is heated with a spirit lamp or a candle. You eat by means of dipping bread through long-stemmed forks into the cheese. A casserole dish can also be used if one doesn’t have a fondue pot. Continue reading

Rye – A Healthier Alternative to Wheat?

rye

Rye is a strong-flavored, slightly bitter tasting grain that is hardy enough to grow in cold climates; it is particularly popular in Scandinavia, Russia and Germany where it is used to make breads and crackers. Of the 15.5 million tonnes cultivated every year, nearly 90% is grown in Europe, particularly in Russia, Poland and Germany; 7% is grown in Asia (mainly in China), whilst 3% is grown in North America (mainly in Canada). The UK grows approximately 41,000 tonnes a year, making it the fourth most important crop after wheat, oats and barley.

Rye is a good source of dietary fibre, along with nutrients such as vitamin E, calcium, iron, thiamine, potassium and phosphorus. It is also relatively low in gluten compared to wheat.

The beige or dark grey grains may be processed into a variety of forms, including whole rye kernels (berries), rye flakes and rye flour. It can be brewed to make beer, distilled to make rye whiskey (particularly in the US and Canada), and is also used in some brands of vodka.

Whole Rye Kernels

Also known as rye berries, these are the whole kernels with only the tough outer hull removed. Boiled until tender, they can be used in stews, pilaffs and stir-fries or added to breads for extra texture. They may also be used as a hot breakfast cereal. The berries may be soaked overnight to decrease the cooking time.

Rye Flakes

Rye berries may be forced between rollers to form a flattened flake. Also known as rolled rye, these flakes cook faster than whole kernels, and may be added to breads, soups, stews and casseroles. They can also be used to make beer, or combined with other grains and then cooked to make a hot breakfast cereal.

Rye Flour

Rye grain may be milled into flour, which can be used to make a rather heavy, dark bread with a distinctive sweet-sour flavor. There are a variety of different types of flour, depending on the coarseness of the grind; coarse-ground dark rye flour is used to make pumpernickel bread, whilst more finely ground dark rye flour is used for European and Russian black breads.

As rye is relatively low in gluten, it needs to be combined with wheat flour when baking yeast breads. This produces a lighter colored, risen loaf. Rye flour is also used to make crispbreads.

Wild Rice – The Good Berry

wild rice

This grain-like plant is not actually a type of rice, but rather an aquatic grass that bears edible seeds. It grows wild in marshy areas of rivers and lakes and may be found growing wild in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota, and in southern Canada. It is also cultivated in paddy fields in Minnesota and California. Continue reading

What is Miso?


For a recent class we were lucky enough to have a visiting Japanese sushi chef, Mr. Kaito Tanaka, hold a crash course on Japanese cuisine and cooking techniques. One of the ingredients mentioned by Mr. Tanaka (and, in my opinion, one of the more intriguing aspects of Japanese cooking) was Miso, a type of condiment and base ingredient used in a wide variety of Japanese dishes. I’m ashamed to say, my knowledge of miso, and Japanese cooking in general, up to that point was almost non-existent. After reading up on the subject I decided to post the following article to help shed some light on this somewhat mysterious ingredient. Continue reading

Pumpkin Cheesecake – Fast, Easy and Delicious

pumpkin cheesecakeTired of pumpkin pie and want something different? If you have never tried pumpkin cheesecake, you are in for a treat. It is absolutely delicious, fast and easy holiday dessert — and since I am always pressed for time, I need desserts I can make in a few minutes. It cooks for an hour, but the prep time is next to nothing. Lets’ start with the basics. Continue reading

Pan Seared Hake with a Tomato and Bean Stew

pan-seared-hake-with-tomato-and-bean-stewI love this recipe because it is so simple and the flavours are just stunning with the fish without overpowering the freshness and lightness of the Hake. Really Healthy fresh and Rustic! Continue reading