Summer’s here – in full, hot, sunshiny glory. Our little village is ablaze with roses and hollyhocks. Cricket, village fetes, cold drinks in the pub garden, all perfect and classic ways to spend the long light days. But how about a day of Italian cookery in the stunning kitchen of a beautiful old stone village [...]
Summer’s here – in full, hot, sunshiny glory. Our little village is ablaze with roses and hollyhocks. Cricket, village fetes, cold drinks in the pub garden, all perfect and classic ways to spend the long light days. But how about a day of Italian cookery in the stunning kitchen of a beautiful old stone village house? Not so usual, but just as wonderful. Shall I tell you about my day at the Cici Coco Kitchen?
Cici Coco is an artisan food company run by the immensely talented Giuliana Cortese. Famous locally for her wonderful lasagne, and consistently winning awards for many of her handcrafted products, it’s a natural step for Giuliana to branch out into offering cookery classes. Cici Coco means “things that go well together” and Giuliana’s passion for using the absolute best ingredients (with an emphasis on locally sourced, seasonal food) along with her expertise and Italian flair just sums that up perfectly. Take a look at the website http://www.cici-coco.com.
So on to our day. Giulina (below on the right) gathered a few of us together and over coffee and cake we looked at the menu she had planned for us to prepare. An ambitious, generous menu – we had our work cut out!
So we got to work. We made fresh creamy Ricotta cheese. We made silky sheets of fresh pasta with spinach. We peeled and cooked artichokes. We prepared a heavenly long simmering ragu of beef, pork ribs and sausage. We rolled and filled delicate pasta parcels of smoked cheese and ricotta. We made a vibrant salad of tomatoes, bread and capers. We baked a luxurious, fragrant Ricotta and Almond Cake.
The artichokes, braised with capers, baby onions and anchovies is amazingly delicious – but I had to laugh when I looked at this photograph of the dish in preparation. Have you ever noticed how much anchovies can resemble earthworms? I’ve offended the food styling gods with this one!
On to the pasta making. Is there anything more satisfying, authentic and just pure fun than making beautiful smooth sheets of fresh pasta? It helps to have an expert by your side.
Are you hungry yet? I certainly was, and it was such a sweet moment when we all sat down – with a glass of crisp white wine – to enjoy the delicious food. I could so easily have lingered the rest of the afternoon – but no, it was time to meet the school bus on the village green.
What a lovely day. I learned so much. Thank you Giuliana.