Pages

Saturday, September 24, 2016

La Cuoca


Indeed! Thatsa me!! I brought my certificate to France as |I think the most suitable place for it is the kitchen wall here. But I still need to find a suitable frame for it. You will all be impressed to know that this feat was accomplished in  about 3 hours in the midst of Chianti-land. It was, in fact a great fun day with lots of laughter and lunch -- the result of our culinary efforts.

Our chef and teacher, Alan, was amusing and accomplished. We started the day with a visit to one of the local markets in Florence -- checking out the hams and the cheeses and the fruits and the vegetables. Wine and goodies were served at about  10 a.m. -- too early for most of us. My son and Alan hit the coffee bar soon afterward and I suspect they may have each had a Grappa to wash out the dregs in their cups...

Florence was a very hot and sticky city that day and I was pleased to find myself in an air-conditioned bus and on our way to the countryside and the place of the cooking school.  It was a very grand place. The winery was also a kind of museum explaining the history of chianti and the soil that produces this produces this particular variety. We were to eat surrounded by wooden barrels and a sense of the 'ages' enveloping us.

In the first part of the lesson we learned how to make a true bolognaise sauce and also a fresh tomato sauce made with very fresh cherry tomatoes. Alan made these two sauces and we had to make the pasta to accompany them. In addition we made our own dessert: tiramisu!

There were 14 students in all: 7 of us were in the same family; the remaining 7 were Americans. In fact of the whole group, only my son was British -- and he is American, too, by right of birth. During the lesson we sat at a counter with the appropriate ingredients we would need in front of us. I am not a bad cook and the making of pasta is particularly easy. |However, came apart at the first hurdle!

"It's only pasta" was Alan's mantra and he repeated it to me when I stumbled. The instructions were quite clear. Take the flour, mix the salt (tiny bit) and make a well in the centre. I did as I was told. We were then to break the egg into the center and stir it up adding flour a little at a time until you had a soft ball. But when I broke my egg into the centre it ran up and over the wall of flour I had not ensured was quite high enough -- and started to run towards the edge of the counter and , God forbid, the floor! As any right-minded student would do, I endeavoured to stop the flow by deluging the runaway egg with flour and mashing it back where it belonged into a soggy and unwieldy mess!

I was mortified, but no one else witnessed my dilemma because they were too busy getting it right! And then Alan came and quoted his delightful mantra into my ear; "It's only pasta"!

Eventually, I managed to roll out an acceptable piece of pasta dough and made the required ravioli stuffed with ricotta; and the tagliatelle from the bits on the side. Then all of our efforts were collected onto a huge communal platter and we off to learning how to make tiramisu. Not hitches there. I made my individual dessert with no difficulties. I remember absolutely nothing -- or almost nothing about how to make it. However, my son makes the best tiramisu I have ever had, so I figure wait for him to come home and then get him to make it!

Lesson over, it was time to make our way to the dining room to enjoy the fruits of our so- called labour! And very enjoyable it was, too...
The Graduates: The Broad, The Son, and The Sister!

15 comments:

  1. What an absolute hoot! And you wrote about it perfectly. I felt like I was right there. Congratulations, graduate. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was great fun -- and unexpected fun at that...

      Delete
  2. Sounds like a fun and productive day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed it was, Joeh! Real family fun, too...

      Delete
  3. Well done!
    My daughter took a pasta class once. "It's so easy!" She came to acquire our pasta cutter and make us a meal. It finally was served about 9pm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My middle son is the pasta maker in the family. He has even made gnocchi, which I have heard many an Italian cook say not to bother as what you can buy in the super market fresh is just as good and a lot less trouble! Of course, in Italy it is quite normal to eat at 9.00!

      Delete
  4. I'm impressed! I am always recommending a restaurant in Florence called La Casa Linga - did you visit it? I think it is only open at lunchtimes, though they may have got a bit popular by now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, but I intend to make a not of it and pass it on to my son to check out on his next visit. And my other sister will be visiting Florence next month so I will let her know, too!

      Delete
  5. Wow, that sounds like so much fun. Congrats on the certificate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Inger -- now I just need to find a frame!

      Delete
  6. Now that sounds a fun day out!

    ReplyDelete
  7. How fun. I've taken a cooking class in Thailand and found it most enjoyable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A cooking class in Thailand! Wow! Did you get a certificate?

      Delete
  8. How fun! I took a class in Provence years ago, and still make the clafouti we learned to make. Not a bad way to eat your way into the culture.

    ReplyDelete

Receiving comments is a joy and I thank you all for taking the trouble and showing your interest. Makes me feel all gooey and stuff!