Cooking with Pamela Clark at Australian Women’s Weekly Test Kitchen

| 16 July , 2010 | 5 Replies

I recently attended a cooking class with Pamela Clarke at the Australian Women’s Weekly Test Kitchen in the Sydney CBD. Pamela knows absolutely everything about cooking, is incredibly down-to-earth and our small group of 12 wanna be chefs cooked up a storm of curries in the Curries & Casseroles Cooking Class for yummy devouring after cooking.

Pamela Clarke and Margot

We were paired up and I had the lovely Margot as my teammate and we cooked a Red Lentil, Mushroom & Spinich Curry. Other curries that featured in our feast at the end were: Aloo Gobi, Lemon, Coconut & Chilli Poached Fish, Assamese Sour Fish Curry, Pork Green Curry, Palak Paneer and Butter Chicken.

Some of the curries we ate for dinner afterwards

You could ask Pamela any question you wanted, she pottered around the different stove areas to see how you were faring. It’s definitely lots of fun and it got me cooking something I haven’t done before. It felt strange having someone be so organised for you and having all the ingredients out on the bench, and I haven’t cooked with someone for so long so that was fun for me.

Margot cooking at our stove area

Our curry on the stove

I also remade the Red Lentil Curry at home (pictures below) and it wasn’t as good as Pamela’s when we cooked it in her kitchen, but that’s because I’m more impatient!

My curry cooked at home (the yoghurt was ‘flashed’ by the camera)

The following recipe for the Red Lentil Curry and all the other recipes mentioned above are available in the Australian Women’s Weekly “Stew … Braises and Casseroles” cookbook.  The cookbook is available in bookstores and online from or Random House, RRP$19.95.  Another good cookbook I’ve been using is AWW Slow Cooking, RRP$39.95.


Red Lentil, Mushroom and Spinach Curry with Yoghurt Sauce

  • 1 cup (200g) dried red lentils
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 small brown onion (80g), sliced thinly
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1cm piece fresh ginger (5g), grated
  • 2 small green chillies, sliced thinly
  • 200g button mushrooms, halved
  • 1½ cups (375ml) vegetable stock
  • ½ cup (125ml) water
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 250g baby spinach leaves

yogurt sauce

  • 1 cup (280g) natural yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  1. Wash lentils well under cold running water.
  2. Heat oil in large frying pan; cook seeds, stirring, until fragrant. Add onion, garlic, ginger and chilli; cook, stirring, until onion softens. Add mushrooms; cook until browned lightly.
  3. Add drained lentils to pan with stock and the water; bring to the boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes or until lentils are tender.
  4. Meanwhile, combine ingredients for yogurt sauce in small bowl.
  5. Add garam masala and spinach to curry; stir until spinach has wilted.
  6. Serve curry with yogurt sauce and naan bread, if desired.

Preparation time 15 minutes  cooking time 15 minutes and serves 4

Nutritional count per serving  8.8g total fat (2.5g saturated fat); 1170kJ (280 cal); 24.7g carbohydrate; 20.1g protein; 10.4g fibre.

To book a class call 136 116 or visit, there’s a banner on the front page for you.  I highly recommend it, grab a girlfriend and book in.

You can read about the Cookbook Launch I recently went too and our review on the AWW Cooking School Cookbook.

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Comments (5)

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  1. Sassi Sam says:

    Usually slow cooking means setting the oven to a lower temperature, so you’re using low-heat for a longer amount of time. I hope that’s helpful.

  2. anne says:

    In you receipt for Wedding Cakes you say bake in a slow oven what is a slow oven I have a fan forces gas

  3. Sassi Sam says:

    Thanks Pamela for stopping by and answering Betty’s questions for her.

  4. Pamela Clark says:

    It\’s time for a bit of testing using your own oven, it\’s important that you get to know your oven really well. We have 11 ovens in the Test Kitchen, all the same breed, each and every one of them is a little different. I\’m presuming the thermostat in your oven is correct, if you\’re in doubt, based on your own experience, buy an oven thermometer – it\’s much cheaper than having a service call – and check the temperature. Leave the thermometer in the oven, it\’s a really good idea to keep an eye on temperatures during baking.

    These days, most ovens have about eight different modes to choose from, the instruction manual related to your oven is the best guide to choosing the correct mode. So, bake a recipe you\’re familiar with using the baking mode, which is what the manual will almost certainly suggest, then bake the same thing using the fan-forced mode, but reduce the oven temperature by 10 degrees C. It\’s up to you to choose which result you like best, when I bake, here or at home, I prefer to use the fan-forced mode.

    When using the baking mode, use the second shelf from the bottom of the oven, when using the fan mode, you should, in theory, be able to use any shelf position and get even baking results. However, I\’ve found, no matter what type of (domestic) oven you have, it is bound to have a hot spot or two, which means the cake or whatever will need turning or rotating.

    Don\’t be nervous about shuffling things around in the oven during the baking, just do it quickly and gently, don\’t bang the oven door or handle the cake pan heavily. As a guide, if a cake is going to take about 40 minutes to cook, I would check after about 15 minutes, turn it if necessary, then I\’d check it twice more during the rest of the baking time. Souffles and sponges are really the only things that are tricky to move about during the baking.

    Hope this helps you.


  5. Betty Iconomidis says:

    Dear Pamela, I know this is the wrong site but i’m desperate. I find it confusing as to which is better for baking cakes, biscuits, pstries conventional ovens or fanforced. Also soes it matter on which rack to use, top, middle etc. I’m and old fashioned cook and I have a Neff oven which has both con. and fanforced oven. I’ve to classes but still confused. Had an old Westinghouse con. oven. Had no trouble. thanks.

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