Sharing and cooking for others is one of my biggest pleasures in life. It’s a great way to spread love to friends, family and around the world. Sadly, it is becoming more common to socialise through our phones. So to counteract that, I try to invite people for a spot of food as often as possible. I truly believe we would benefit from eating together regularly. Home cooking is a great way to do this. However, I know it can be daunting to cook for a large number of people, especially if you’re not that confident in the kitchen.
If that sounds like you, ‘Italian kitchen suppers for friends’ – an Italian cooking class featured at La Cucina Caldesi , Marleybone in central London, is right up your street.
An interactive 4 hour class, headed by Katie Caldesi, who has written a number of Italian cookbooks highlighting the best in Italian regional cooking. As an owner of many of Katie’s cookbooks, I knew that her recipes weren’t only delicious but also fool proof, so I couldn’t wait to get stuck in.
As a group, we were taken through all the steps and we all got involved in making an incredible Italian feast. At the end, we were able to enjoy the fruits of our labour with a glass or two of wine.
We were shown 8 different recipes from starters, salads, mains and dessert. Considering it was an Italian cooking class, it was really refreshing not to have pasta on the menu. So many think pasta is only what Italy has to offer on the culinary front. However, Katie shows you the amazing diversity of flavours you can achieve within Italian cooking while executing simple dishes. Good food does not necessarily mean high technical complicated recipes and this class 100% proves that. I loved how Katie would share her best tips and stories regarding each dish and felt I learnt some great techniques that I will take with me into my own cooking.
The menu was a selection of recipes from Katie’s various cookbooks including:
Porchetta con salsa di vino – Stuffed roasted pork belly served with a wine jus.
Pollo alla Romana – Pan fried chicken thighs cooked in a roasted pepper tomato sauce.
Ricotta al forno – a Sicilian baked ricotta recipe. An amazing starter which literally only took 5 minutes to prepare before baking for 20 minutes.
Patate arrostite della Nonna– Nonna roasted potatotes with herbs.
Insalata di sedano rapa e ravanello con scaglie di pecorino e noci trite – Shaved pecorino, celeriac and radish salad with crushed walnuts.
Cavolo nero con peperoncino e aglio – sautéed cavolo nero with chilli and garlic
Torta caprese con crema di Amaretto– a flourless chocolate and almond cake served with an amaretto cream, from the island of Capri
By the end of the class, I felt like I wanted to run home and cook everything that I had just learned. Everything tasted incredible and I wanted to eat it all over again. I couldn’t believe how un-fussy each recipe was. I can guarantee that even the most amateur of cooks would feel a sense of achievement and have their confidence boosted after such a great class. Cooking for a group of people should be fun and not daunting and the more we eat together a better place the world would be. Katie and Stefano (her side man) were so warm and made us feel so welcome. It felt like I had been welcome into their own home rather than a cookery school.
If you would like more information on future cooking classes at La Cucina caldesi head to the website and sign up to their newsletter.