Over the past few months, with one thing or another, there doesn’t seem to have been enough spare time to have fun and share some time out with friends. Nurturing my friendships has always been high on my agenda, but time has been my hurdle of late. Quite frankly, I was overdue for some girly time.

So, I dialled up The Bestie and organised a weekend at one of our fave escapes, Mount Tamborine, which is only just over an hour from home – bonus!

Lyndall & Jane at Tamborine Cooking School

Lyndall & Jane at Tamborine Cooking School

We booked in to attend the Tamborine Cooking School, which is always a fun day out. We’ve been before (this was our FOURTH visit) and learnt/ate Italian, Spanish and Morrocan. This time, it was French – ooh lala!!

We were greeted by our lovely host, Terri Taylor, who has been running the cooking school from her home on the mountain for the past six years. I wrote an earlier post about Terri’s journey – you can read it here.

Rhubarb cake at Tamborine Cooking School

Terri’s delicious rhubarb cake

On arrival, we were offered our choice of tea or coffee, served with homemade Rhubarb cake on the veranda. We met some of the other people in our group – there were twelve of us in total. Terri gave us all name tags so we could get to know each other, and so she knew everyone’s names too, although I’m pretty sure she knows The Bestie and I by now!

Lyndall & Jane with Terri Taylor at Tamborine Cooking School

Lyndall & Jane with Terri Taylor

Terri is a former chef, who learnt her presentation skills from being a Weight Watchers leader (after losing 10 kilos herself). With the able assistance of her Mum, June, and husband David, Terri has built a thriving business which now caters to groups such as Hen’s parties, team building days, sports and club groups and corporate events.

She takes great pride in sourcing most of her organic ingredients from local farmers and producers located either on the mountain or the nearby Scenic Rim, and is active in the Slow Food movement on Mount Tamborine. We sampled the locally made Witches Chase triple brie, which was rather delicious, as well as a glass of Witches Chase wine with lunch.

With the group gathered around a large central island bench, Terri provides informal instruction about the food we will be preparing. You can get as hands-on as you like or stand back and watch if you prefer. Everyone had a turn at doing several tasks in our group.

Terri’s philosophy is, “You can’t muck anything up,”, which is reassuring when you’re not much of a cook!

We helped out with all the dishes between 10am-12.30, then Terri told us to go and sit down at the table with a glass of wine while she finished off in the kitchen and served our lunch.

Our Lunch table at Tamborine Cooking School

Our Lunch table

The group adjourned to the enclosed veranda, where a table was set and ready for our gourmet French lunch. By the time we sat down, the group all knew each other enough to have a conversation and a bit of a laugh, which was lovely. The view from this room is so picturesque – looking west of the Tamborine plateau, across the valley to the misty mountains of the Great Dividing Range. What a fabulous setting to enjoy a delicious lunch with great company.

The view from Tamborine Cooking School

The view from Tamborine Cooking School – This photo doesn’t do it justice!

Having already tried the brie with fig paste on wafer-thin crackers, we sat down to crisp Melba toast and rustic Mushroom pate. This was followed by our very own creative works of art – the Salmon terrine. We worked as a group to make the terrine, which was then scooped into small individual glasses, with a slice of smoked salmon around the inside, then refrigerated. Just before we sat down, Terri instructed us to turn the terrines onto a thick slice of cucumber and then decorate our plates with drizzled Balsamic dressing, nasturtiums, capsicum, chives/parsley and violets – and topped with a dash of caviar! It was rather interesting to see how different each creation looked.

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Terri’s salmon terrine work of art

My salmon terrine creation

My salmon terrine creation

The terrine was really delicious and something I would make again … although I’d have to host a posh dinner party to do that (unlikely!).

Duck with prunes and pureed kumara at Tamborine Cooking School

Duck with prunes – served with pureed kumara (not pictured)

Our next course was the Duck with prunes, served with pureed Kumara (sweet potato). I have to say, I had some initial reservations about this dish, but it was really tasty. I’m pretty sure you could make it with chicken instead of duck if you wanted to, so I may well try this one at home.

We also enjoyed a tasty Rocket and Pear salad which I will be putting on the menu at our place. Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of the salad – I was too busy eating it!!

Choux pastry at Tamborine Cooking School

Choux pastry

To round off the meal, we enjoyed fresh choux pastry, which were served plain. We broke them open to scoop the super-delicious chocolate mousse and macerated berries with rhubarb onto the pasty. The chocolate mousse was to die for. The secret ingredient was a little zest of orange – yuuuummmm!!

Chocolate mousse at Tamborine Cooking School

Chocolate mousse

Just after 2pm, most of the group headed off, and we took the opportunity to have a brief chat and take a few photos with Terri before strolling through the garden to reach our car.

While I have no desire to be on Masterchef, I did really enjoy our day at Tamborine Cooking School and would definitely return – if Terri will have us! I think there’s a few more cuisines we haven’t tried –  Asian… Greek … Wholefoods …. I feel a return visit coming on 🙂

A beautiful orchid decorated the corner of the dining area

A beautiful orchid decorated the corner of the dining area

It was so lovely to take some time out from our busy schedules and have an uninterrupted conversation, to try some new food and wine and explore a few parts of Mount Tamborine we haven’t been before. I’ll give more details about the beautiful bushwalks and our other adventures in my next post.

Have you been to Mount Tamborine? Have you been to Tamborine Cooking School?

Linking up with Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit for the #Lovin’LIfeLinky Lovin Life Linky

Also linking up with A Hole in My Shoe for #TheWeeklyPostcard 

A Hole In My Shoe