Food for thought across Boronia...

THERE is a new smell at Boronia library and it's a far cry from musty old books — it's the scent of tantalising culinary delights.

For the past 12 months, Eastern Regional Libraries have been hosting cheap cooking classes for residents.

This month, there is something for everyone's tastebuds with a menu ranging from cake to curries.

Mrs Tillekeratne owns Tille's Grocery Shop — selling Indian and Sri Lankan groceries — in Boronia and will teach the audience to make her much-loved chicken curry.

While she is yet to commit to a side dish, she is leaning towards fried eggplant served with pickles.

A former teacher, Mrs Tille — as she is known — hopes the audience will be inspired to cook more regularly with spices because of their many health benefits.

While she acknowledged that many people do not like the smell of spices in their kitchen, Mrs Tille insisted the benefits were worth it. "Cumin is very good for stomach indigestion, coriander is good for gas and turmeric is good for cleanliness and antibacteria," Mrs Tille said.

Professional chef Stephen Wilson will also be hosting a cooking demonstration at Boronia library this month — with a chocolate theme to help the audience prepare for Easter.

He has already led cooking demonstrations at Boronia, Healesville and Belgrave libraries. Some people have even brought him pictures of his dishes they have prepared.

For Boronia, he is deliberating about chocolate recipes — "I only have an hour and a bench and Powerpoint" — but a chocolate meringue gateau with a mascarpone ganache is at the top of his list.

Wilson, who has worked in restaurant kitchens for more than 20 years, aims to make cooking accessible to everyone.

"I can do the fancy stuff, but you can't. So I want to source local food that's easy to cook with, so it's not too far beyond people."

Wilson will focus on technique during the cooking class and teach new ways of preparing food.

Both chefs have promised tastings at the end of the classes. 

More information at erl.vic.gov.au.

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