Essential Italian Cooking with La Cucina Caldesi

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My name begins with N, but I’m no Nigella in the kitchen. So when I received an invite to spend the day, with London’s only Italian cookery school  learning the basic Italian essential receipes, I was more than a bit nervous. When I turned up early on sunday morning, at their purpose built teaching kitchen off Marylebone high street, I needn’t of worried as all my 9 other  class mates were also flying solo like myself.

Our teacher for the day was the Chef Stefano Borella,  with his assistant also confusingly called Stefano, who kept us in excellent italian coffee throughout the day.

Essential Italian

After introductions,  we kicked off into action making  pizza and foccacia dough, a totally new experience for a girl who has a stash of JustRoll in the freezer.  But there was a silver lining ahead, being a fan of great british bake off finally began to pay off,  when being designated to make the foccacia, luckily, I had paid close attention during GBBO bread week, so I started the day feeling slightly smug.

So after kneading a ball of mush, aka dough for what seemed to be an eternity, it  was put aisde to prove.

Essential Italian

The next task was to tackle the sauces,

Pesto ,Arrabbiata and Ragu . Chef Stefano now had us running like  well oiled machine everybody was given their tasks to do , I was chopping , peeling and stirring like I was the final of masterchef.

The time seems to fly by and before you know it , it’s time for lunch so out comes the pre prepared pizza dough and we are given free reign to pile on the toppings.

Lunch is pizza and wine ,all shared round a big table in typical Italian fashion. so its time for a well deserved breather whilst everyone has a natter and shares their pizza creations.

Essential ItalianAfter lunch it back to work with more dicing and slicing as we tackled authentic Ragu bolognese without  a jar of  Dolmio sight , who knew there’s carrots celery and onions in the base mix.

Nicely proved during the morning session it was back to the focaccia ,and time to strech it out the dough and add the sea salt & rosemary then into the oven.

We then moved onto preparing a  taster portion of roasted pepper risotto, I got the task of  peeling the chargrilled peppers. We had another short  break to taste the risotto and then it was all hands on deck to prepare the main coures of Steak Tagliata and fish( sea bream ) in crazy water , and dessert of a chocolate torte cake from Capri, and  Almond Cantuccini and the end was in sight.

Essential Italian

It was certainly a busy day from 10am to 4.30pm with a couple of  short stops to eat ,but i felt like I’d learnt enough to hold a simple italian meal  so my personal cooking  mission was acomplished. Well Recommended.

Italian Essentials  cookery course costs £160 for the day fom 10am to 4pm ,  la Cucina Caldesi also runs a number of cookery courses both at their cookery school in Marylebone as well as in their resturant in Bray and weekend cooking courses in the Cotswolds details can be found on the website

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