On my little blog story, this time I will like to share with you few words
regarding the amazing places I am so lucky to work in . As you might know
my small business is all about cooking around in private houses and also
sharing my passion for Italian food through fun and relax cooking classes.
The Villas where I have the pleasure to work in , are usually
located all around the Orvieto area. Beautiful places where the guests can
feel at home and enjoy this amazing corner of Umbria.
Being a private chef , gives me the opportunity to meet many people , to
cook for them seasonal fresh local food and most of all to create a
special menu for them for any occasion. Planning a menu is for me always
great fun and using fresh vegetables picked from my vegetable garden whenever
possible . A big challenge in my work is also to use the equipment that
I find in the Villas and as you all know every oven is different ! So far I haven’t burned a kitchen down!
Now instead of keep talking, I will love to share with you the environment
and beautiful “office” where I am so lucky to work.
Welcome to Umbria, pictures by my super talented husband Nick Cornish.
Benano at sunrise
Castello della Sala, Wine Estate
Our beautiful village, Allerona
Country side around Allerona
I hope you enjoyed the visit to my office !! All my best for now and hopefully see you soon xxx
Slow cooked Rabbit served with asparagus, red onions and crispy violet baby potato
Although we have always been treated with nothing but warmth and helpfulness from the day we moved into our home in this small community , our homecoming from Perugia really was something special. Friends and neighbours stopped by not only to ask after Nick but also to see if there was anything we needed or anything they could do to help, this was all done with lots of hugs and kisses .
Our animals were also included in this occasion with bread and vegetables brought for Hilda the goat and the chickens because they are after all part of the family
How lovely and heart warming is all that.
So now we are busy making plans for the coming season and the first plan is to increase our egg production. Our not so young but still very active Cockerel could not believe his luck when a further three lady chickens of the “Tosca type ” moved in .
I must say Hilda the goat was not too impressed with so many chickens running around her domain but after the first night of all being together the equilibrium in the little barn seems to have returned.
The Tosca Ladys chickens
In the meantime on the other side of the green hills , our next door neighbour Elena is also busy looking after her farm, not only is she very active and organised but also an amazing cook.
A few days ago she presented us with with a rabbit beautifully prepared and ready to cook .I must say she does an amazing job and her free range rabbits are always BUONISSIMI . I realize some of you will probably not like the idea of eating rabbit but I really do think the flavour is much nicer than chicken ….anyway it was cooked in a white wine sauce and served with asparagus, red onions and crispy violet baby potato. The dish was a great success and we do feel very privileged to be able to live in a place were organic products , free range meat and beautiful yellow eggs from our chickens are all part of a day after day life style.
After months of silence on my blog , here I am back and positive as always.
It’s been a difficult winter for us , as few of my readers know, but finally a BEAUTIFUL LIGHT has appeared at the end of the tunnel. We are back home in our farmhouse in Umbria and I feel full of energy and looking forward to sharing my passion for Italian food this coming season. So many people have already contacted me and so many interesting and yummy things will happen this year. I am excited already !!!
But before then let me share with you some of the dishes and cooking classes , I had the joy of doing these passed month!
A LICK OF PAINT FOR THE SPRING
“YOU AND ME, ME AND YOU
LOTS AND LOTS OF THINGS TO SEE
LOTS AND LOTS OF THINGS TO DO
YOU AND ME, ME AND YOU “
Pork Tenderloin rapped in pancetta and a mushroom paste
More than 18 years ago Nick and I married in a tiny Chapel just outside Rome. As some of you may remember, I met Nick in London eighteen and a half years ago. I was his italian lodger ( I was renting a room in Nick’s apartment in Chalk Farm, London) at the time. I could only speak a very very little English but after 6 months of me living there, my landlord proposed to me and I made use of my very limited English vocabulary and said yes, I have to say his Italian was almost none existent but his sign language was just so good. Now I know what some of you may be thinking——“ goodness that`s a bit drastic just to get out of paying the rent “ Or “what if she miss understood the question “!!!
We began our married life living in Rome, my city ,and enjoyed ” la dolce vita romana” lifestyle for a while. Our first home was a rented 25mq illegally built apartment situated near the Vatican ( of course at the time, we did not know it was illegal ). We were trying to live on 20 mila lire ( € 10 ) a day for both of us, including breakfast, lunch and dinner, wine and cigarettes. Plus the cost of the scooter petrol of course. Our tiny flat was on the other side of the Vatican Museum and lots of “turisti” kept knocking at our door for information. Every day we also had to climb 100 or more steps to get in to our little box we called home. I remember the time Nick had to carry me up those steps, because I had a broken leg after a scooter accident. Yes , it’s very normal to have at least one scooter incident when you live in Rome !!! Anyway during our romantic roman experience, we moved “home” 4 times, the last 3 tiny places were around the Monteverde area ( not far from Trastevere, if you know a bit about Rome) During that time we also acquired two bicycles but unfortunately, as with our white Piaggio scooter, they were stolen one evening while parked on the street. …again all normal when you live in Rome. Luckily just before that , we managed to use the bicycles for our honeymoon. Yes, we sailed from the Civitavecchia port to Sardigna island and with only a tiny tent we cycled around and camped for nearly 3 weeks for free on the beaches around the south of the island. Unfortunately before leaving for the honeymoon I had told Nick Sardegna island was pretty flat. ..but this time, boy was I wrong !!!
Anyway lets talk about the honeymoon another time !!! Ok after Rome , we decided to change our lifestyle and move to the countryside in beautiful Umbria.We started by sleeping in a tent with a machete next to Nick’s pillow ( remember that after all, we were both pretty much towns people….wild boar noises can be very scary in the middle of the night )not too far from the dilapidated farm house we had managed to buy.
15 years on, spent restoring our old farmhouse, we are very happy and content to have completed another year in Umbria and are so looking forward to the start of a new one together. So you are now thinking. ..”what is the point of her story” ????
Last views of Autumn , pictures by Nick Cornish
Well my point is that , I am still so amazed by it all ,here we are living in a big lovely comfortable farmhouse ( remember we started in 25mq so everything compared up to that is BIG to me) surrounded by beautiful countryside. We are both able to do what we love, Nick working as a photographer and me busy with my pots and pans. We have managed to create not just a happy life together but also have managed to build a little business together. Our linguistic communication is definitely better…….. ..or maybe not sometimes, but who cares! Sometimes a little bit of lost in translation is good.
The season here is nearly over and we are ready to face whatever comes next with energy and lots of positivity.
And so to finish my little story ………..I just want to say that Nick and I WISH YOU A GREAT WINTER and keep warm xxx
The Olive picking team !
I have to be honest , Autumn really is my favorite season . In gastronomic terms everything i love to eat happens now. It starts with the ripe figs falling of the trees in September, then the grapes are ready on the vines , mushrooms appear as if from nowhere and for meat lovers the hunting season starts. All of this foody activity comes to an end with the olive harvest to make olive oil .
Locally it’s one of the most important events of the year and everybody is super content when it’s been completed successfully . The fact that up to 80 % of last year’s Italian olive harvest was destroyed by a fruit fly infestation, had made everyone extremely worried about this year . It was a national disaster and most of our neighbors had no olives to pick , including us.
It seems that thanks to an extremely hot summer , last years woes are over and this years Olive Oil is extremely good. Infact, most of our trees were brimming with Olives . This left us with no choice ,but to call in the help of the fabulous students from the University Abroad of Arizona and Kansas in Orvieto.
These guys are amazing , non of them had picked olives before , but after a quick demonstration , they were straight down to work . It was a lovely day ,the sun was shinning, the atmosphere relaxed and by lunch time they had picked 440 kg of olives . Not bad ! Not bad at all .
Thanks again to everyone for all your help , it’s been a wonderful Autumn so far .
All pictures by Nick Cornish
PICTURES BY NICK CORNISH
Pine nuts and Gorzonzola cheese Zucchini parcel
Yet another month has passed and even though we live in the middle of nowhere, it is unbelievable the number of people who have passed thro my kitchen in the last few months. They all came to share the same passion for Italian food. Absolutely fantastic!
I have met many new people, and together we have already planned menus for my trip to the States, next March. Also people who I cooked for and with in the UK, North Caroline and Ohio earlier this year have been in touch. Nick and I continue to be overwhelmed by how many good things have happened for us this year and that this luck is now blessing our private lives every day.
Many funny things have also happened this month,and one of them I would like to share with you because I feel so honoured by it. I received an email from some lovely people who stayed in a beautiful villa called Rocca di Benano, near Orvieto. In this email they announced that there was a new addition to their family. A small black rescue cat and they had decided to call her Simona, in memory of the happy experience with me in Umbria. How cool is this????????? A black cat in America now has my name, FAME AT LAST!
Here, a photo of furry Simona
Autumn will soon becoming to an end and the colors of the Umbrian countryside are wonderful. We feel so happy and fortunate to be here to enjoy it at its finest. Nick and I go for long walks as often as we can and always feel really privileged to be so close to natures amazing display . Then once we get home, the wooden stove is on and we enjoy cooking a meal together. I know it sound cheesy, but as you know there have been very difficult times for us this year and we are still having to live with them but we REALLY have also come to understood how important it is to appreciate even the smallest things and to enjoy every day as it came.
Countryside around Allerona, Umbria. Pictures by Nick Cornish
Talking about enjoying every day , we are planning to have our Olive Harvest on Sunday October 8 !! So, our new Extra virgin olive oil, will be soon ready to use . YUMMY!
As always we are keeping our fingers crossed for good weather on this day. Already many many people have kindly offered to participate in exchange of a good lunch, so we are unable to extend an open invitation but I promise there will be many more harvest days to come. Fortunately, I love to cook!
Greetings for now and speak soon at the next post, after the olives harvest!
It’s been four months since I posted my last story. I apologize, but during this long summer many things have happened.
It all started with Nick, my husband, making a rare visit to our local doctor to have a blood test. Unfortunately the result of this a few hours later had the doctor banging on our door to send us to hospital. There Nick was diagnosed and confirmed to have leukemia. At first we did not know what it was, but slowly with the help of well-trained doctors and nurses from the Perugia hospital , we have begun to live with this reality.
Three months have passed, things are going very well with his treatment and we are strong and positive. The support we have received from the local people, friends and family , has been immense. During these long months, we have managed to always think ahead and are still doing so EVERYDAY.
Only 10 days ago, In the Perugia Hospital, locked up in isolation in a room of 10 square meters , Nick and I talked about how we could organize this year’s grape harvest. We had to do it by the end of this month. But how? Who could we call ? What about the weather? Was Nick going to be able to be involved? “Of course not…you are bloody ill,” I said to him” you must not be in contact with people…. in fact if you are out of hospital by the end of September, during the grapes harvest , I WILL lock you in the room and the most you will be able to do is wave from the window, just like Royalty, capisci???
Well just a week ago, Nick was discharged from the hospital for a break at home before tackling the third stage of his treatment. Just in time for the harvest!!!
So I decided to put out a call for help on the social networks with the date of the harvest, and amazing responses from people who wanted to participate immediately began to arrive. Also great support came from the students of the Universities of Kansas and Arizona abroad in Orvieto, local friends , family and friends from Rome, and also people that I had catered for in these last few days …… In short an explosion of people who all wanted to join us. Mamma mia, it was wonderful. I must apologize straightway to the people to whom we had to say no, for this year at any rate. SORRYYYY and thank you so much for your support.
On Sunday the 20th September, on less than half a hectare of vineyard, we had 50 people picking our grapes, they got to know each other up and down the rows, chatting away on a beautiful Italian sunny day. Starting at 9am they had picked all the grapes by 11am !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now as you know, our way of thanking everybody is to provided a good lunch and so in less than two hours I managed to make a great brunch, which was ready to serve al fresco under the porch at 11.30am. Unbelievable but true, Nick wanted to be part of the event ( my husband loves bossing everyone around and telling people what to do ) and also of course to make his contribution with the photos you can see !!!!
WHAT CAN I SAY……A BIG GRAZIE not only to the people who came to help us but to EVERYONE who during this difficult time have been so good to us. GRAZIE FOR THIS AMAZING SUPPORT.
Pleased to be home
A week or so ago on a sunny morning I left my lovely farmhouse in Umbria and flew to London. There I joined my good friend Lorna to take part in what was for us a new venture . It involved running a number of Pop Up Cookery Classes at a new location in town. It was in fact a beautiful Kitchen Show Room in Balham, south London. All new equipment and plenty of space for people to enjoy and join in a bit of Italian cooking action.It was such a great pleasure and just perfect !!!
Not only did I meet some lovely new people but I also was very happy to see old foodie friends there too. It was a great success and we have already been asked to return next November !! SUPER
I will also like to thank you Adam Regala for the London pictures.
London POP UP COOKING CLASS , Pictures by Adam Regala
On top of all that we also had few more workshops in Lorna’s kitchen….… to be honest with you, I am starting to feel very at home in her kitchen and tend to think of it as being a bit mine as well. Together we started the Sagraincasa London project a year ago and I must say i am so happy with the result. Working with a good friend who is also an expert chef, is for me, a real joy.
Then after being busy busy with the pots and pans it was time for a bit of retail therapy like SHOPPING IN COVENT GARDEN. After a visit to my favourite hairdresser Lorna took me to a Nails Caffe to have my nails done……..here I am 43 years old and have never had my nails done before !!! ). Signori and Signore A NEW WOMAN !!
So here I am, all prettied up, boarding my flight back home, excited to be seeing Nick.
We drove back home from Orvieto station and started our evening with a bottle of Planeta wine as an aperitif in the garden. The fragrance of the flowers and the cut grass was in the air and the sunset was just perfect. We continued the evening with some Calamari and a salad…. MAMMA MIA I thought, this is what I call a good Welcome Home !
The next morning as I`m reclining in my bed gazing out of the open window with the soft morning sun filtering through, Nick comes up the stairs with a beautiful Cappuccino……………………… and a list as long as your arm of jobs waiting for my attention like —- planting zucchini, aurbagine, salads etc etc , repainting the kitchen etc etc and on and on. Non of them, my friend, bonding well with artistically painted nails and beautiful hair………is the party over I ask myself. But seriously you know what , I AM SO HAPPY TO BE BACK HOME in the countryside and THIS is the best time ever to be here, the green is super green and the aroma of spring/summer its everywhere.
PLUS this weekend I will be part of a team that is organising the S.Isidoro Festa
, a BIG event in the Village of Allerona, so if you are around try to pop in for a glass of wine, some local delicious food, dancing and fun. ITS ALL HAPPENING HERE IN THE COUNTRY SIDE.
Back home in Umbria, having fun with Hilda the goat !
We arrived in New York a little tired, but very excited about exploring this incredible city. Luckily, we have some very dear friends living there , who dropped everything in order to show us the sites and take us to some great restaurants. No more burgers for us. Brunch in a restaurant owned by Robert Dinero, unfortunately he wasn’t there and dinner in a fantastic Asian fusion restaurant in the Chelsea area of Manhattan. All really, really good. Mostly though , we spent our time walking around being amazed by all the chaos . I guess we are just country people at hart.
After a few days we flew home to find that spring had finally arrived in our little Umbrian village . The sun was shinning and all our animals were waiting excitedly to greet us. Our good friend Elena had been taking care of them whilst we had been away and now they were looking at us rather accusingly .
It felt good to be back home ,but there was no time to relax . Nick jumped straight into cutting the grass and i had nine wonderful people over for a cooking morning.
Plus , we had to finish advertising the cooking classes i will be running in London this May with my very good friend Lorna . please check out the details at the bottom of the page .
Lets just hope that the rest of the year continues like this . I really have had a fantastic time so far.
After leaving Morganton we took a flight to Boston , Massachusetts . We had two days until our next appointment ,so decided to take in the Boston sights with some long walks and regular burger stops . I know there are plenty of alternatives , but the truth is we love burgers and they are a great way to relax , grab a bite and people watch . Things we don’t often get to do in our little Umbrian village.
We had been invited by my friend and first ever cooking student Nancy ,to a small coastal town 50 miles north of Boston called Newburyport . I had met Nancy , a beautiful and talented lady five years ago and was very excited about visiting her at home.
Nancy and myself in Newburyport
Newburyport is an amazing little town where many of the houses date from the 18th century. Wow , fresh sea air and long sandy beaches make this a breath taking place.
We had two cooking classes booked , but first we needed to source some Italian products. My cheese supply ,which I brought from Italy was running low. Luckily ,Nancy knew of an Italian cheese maker who lived locally . Luca , originally from the Molise region of Italy , specializes in making Italian cheeses such as Mozzarella ,Ricotta and Scamorza . Not only are Luca’s cheeses made in the traditional way , they are quite frankly some of the best cheeses I have tasted .Bravo Luca!!
Luca making Scamorza cheese
The first lesson was at the beautiful home of Laura , an extremely elegant lady who with her husband owns four restaurants , with a fifth one opening in Newburyport later this year. The class was large friendly and buzzing . We had a fantastic evening and I want to thank Laura for making it possible.
Me with Laura
The next event was at the home of one of Nancy’s closest friends . Charlene is a kind and generous person who loves to cook and bake for large gatherings , so it was a pleasure to be in her kitchen. Some old friends from Boston and new friends came together to make the perfect class.
Me and Charlene
Now it was time to leave as our adventure was very nearly over . Just a few days holiday in New York before flying home . I would like to finish this account of our little journey with a really , really big thank you to everyone. To those of you who made this trip possible and to those of you who have followed our progress through this blog . We have enjoyed meeting new and old friends and I really hope we can get together soon , in Italy or back here in this beautiful country.
So , Please , please keep in touch .
From Cincinnati we headed south on highway 75 for 6 hours , destination Asheville, a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We had two evenings to spare before our next engagement and everyone told us Asheville was the perfect place to spend them.
Famous for its laid back attitude, live music and locally made craft beers . Honestly they weren’t wrong ,we had an amazing time. Plus , having come 14th in the national burger making championships ,it was the perfect place for us and we had burgers for lunch and dinner on both days.
After such a fun break it was time to move on . The town of Morganton lays 60 miles east of Ashville and we had been invited there by our friends Bill and Kristin Steiner.
Bill and Kristin
Together they run a company called “Adventures in Italy “that specializes in taking people to Orvieto and helping them discover the surrounding delights. I met them a few years ago when they brought a group for a cooking class at my farm house and they have been coming back ever since. They are super friendly and relaxed , the perfect people to show you Italy.
Morganton is an amazingly pretty little town ,but don’t let it’s small size fall you . What it lacks in size it more than makes up for in friendliness . We had heard about Southern hospitality and here it was being served in extremely large portions.
Our first engagement was to be a dinner for 21 people at the home of a lovely couple called Sharon and Phil . We had met Sharon and Phil in Italy a few years ago when they had attended a cooking class at our home with Bill and Kristin . I was extremely happy to be in Sharon’ s kitchen as she is an accomplished cook and entertainer , at the hart of Morganton social events. They are the perfect hosts and i really want to thank them for opening their home to us.
Sharon and Phil
Our last event in Morganton was to be a cooking class at the home of a wonderful couple who i hadn’t met before . Dianne and Gene live in a beautiful house over looking lake James on the out skirts of Morganton. The perfect location for a cooking class ,plus perfect hosts made this a truly great day.
Dianne and Gene
I had a fantastic time at their home . All the guests really got involved in the class and were great fun to be with. I can’t thank Dianne and Gene enough and hope to see them later in the year when they come to Italy.
Our trip to North Carolina was over and it was time to leave. Once again i want to thank everyone for making our trip so memorable, especially Bill and Kristin for inviting us and letting us invade their lovely home. Plus ,a very special thank you to Morganton ,the little town with the biggest hart.
Next stop Massachussetts……..
The Ohio River, Cinccinnati
After months of planning ,the day finally arrived for our departure to America . First stop Cincinnati , Ohio . I had met Karen and her husband Paul last year , the proud owners of a beautiful house in Umbria called Rocco di Benano . Luckily for me they were looking for someone to provide cooking classes and catering for their guests. The summer had gone amazingly well and Karen suggested i come over to Cincinnati , her home town this winter and do a similar thing. What a great opportunity for me and Nick ,so obviously i jumped at the chance.
On our arrival at Dayton airport ,Karen was already waiting and a mad round of shopping began immediately.
Me with Karen and Paul
On our first full day we were joined for lunch by Kathy , a fanastic and beautiful lady who had stayed at Rocco di Benano and came to our house for a cooking class with her husband George and friends. I was so pleased to see her again.
After all the shopping it was time to get down to work and our first event, a private dinner for a party . I was delighted that my first outing was to be with a truly wonderful couple i had met last summer also from Rocco di Benano. Honey and Neil our probably the jolliest people you will ever meet and with the biggest harts . Just 2 minutes with Honey and Neil will put a smile on your face. It was a lovely evening which i really enjoyed.
Me with Neil and Honi
Me with my assistant and new friend Dee
Durring the next few days Nick was sent on many shopping trips ,but always with camera in hand to try and capture some of our trip.
After such a great start to our adventure , i was eager for my next challenge to begin ,two days of cooking classes, followed by dinner for up to 22 people . No easy task , but absolutely wonderful. Everybody was so enthusiastic and friendly that i had a really great time. How welcoming everyone was.
Me with my assistant and new friend Robert
Our stay was nearly over and with just two private dinners to go ,i was starting to feel sad about having to leave Cincinnati. The first party was with a lovely lady called Ella who had an amazing kitchen and who I hope we can meet again soon. The second was with a really jolly and friendly couple Don and Michelle who are coming to Rocco di Benano this summer.
Me with Ella
Don and Michelle
Now it really was time to be going and i want to say a big thank you to Karen and Paul for making all this possible . A really big hug to my assistant chefs Robert and Dee , but most of all thank you to everybody in Cincinnati for being so welcoming and making my American dream come true.
Next stop North Carolina ……
Cooking Class in the Sagraincasa kitchen
Only one month to our departure for the United States of America.
I know I`m becoming a bore but I`m so excited and looking forward to it that every time I have the opportunity, I cannot resist bombarding anyone with even a little knowledge of the places we will visit with questions, and guess what..all my questions are always about food !! It even happened a few days ago during my cooking class with a group of wonderful girls from the Kansas University Aboard in Orvieto.
It`s been a few years since I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to start this wonderful collaboration with this University. Groups of young American students come to my farmhouse to learn how to cook a whole Italian menu and also to learn a bit about our Italian culinary culture.
Homemade pasta is so easy to make and lovely to taste,the concept being to just use a few fresh seasonal ingredients and take great care about the balance of flavours. In a few words what I always try to impart is that the key word for Italian food is simplicity.
Not only is it a pleasure to have these girls (and boys) here but also fun for me to hear their stories and share their passion for food, all foods. This time In the group of students there was a girl from Ohio, Cinccinati. Now Cinccinati is one of the cities we will be visiting during our USA tour so I couldn`t stop myself asking her” what is the most favourite local delicacy that I should try to eat once there?” “Cinccinati Spaghetti Chili”, she responded to me smiling … can you believe it? A plate of pasta !! I will definitely try it.
So if you have any suggestions of local food/dishes we MUST try when we are there please feel free to let us know..
The plan for this trip it will be to see old friends, people I have had the pleasure of knowing over the years in my kitchen in Umbria and also some lovely American people I met when working in other kitchens near Orvieto. The idea is also to meet new people and share with them all my passion for Italian food. So cooking, eating , drinking and being together like a big Italian family under the American flag !!
Thanks to the great help of some dear friends , all the planning is now complete and I am finally able to give you the dates and destinations where I will be rattling my pots and pans.
20th- 21th- 22th -23th -24th March
For info send an email to Karen
Morganton, North Caroline
For info send an email to Bill
Newburyport near Boston
2th – 3th April
For info send an email to Nancy
To participate in our Italian cookery workshops or an Italian dinner party is very easy, please contact my friends Karen, Bill and Nancy. Three fantastic people I have the honor of knowing years ago here in Umbria. Karen is the owner of a beautiful rental Villa in Benano, Bill runs a super fun Italian tour here in Orvieto with his wife Kristin and Nancy is a great musician that I had the pleasure to meet four years ago in my kitchen. She was actually my first student, how sweet it that!
Anyway, I am looking forward to hearing your suggestions, bearing in mind that we will also stop in Ashville and NYC on our way…so which brew should we try? which restaurant? which dish? PLUS of course if YOU fancy meeting me and eating ITALIAN food, you are more than welcome to join the family !
Myself and the lovley students from the Kansas University Aboard in Orvieto
Homemade gnocchi with sausage ragù
Here we are already at the end of January, and I have to say so far things are going very well in 2015. The winter here in Umbria (at the moment ) is being very gracious, our chickens are productive and Hilda the goat is well and cheeky as always. But the really big bonus is that for the first time in many years our house, situated in the hills, is lovely and warm thanks to the wonderful wood stove (made in Denmark) that we had installed last year.At last we don’t need to go around INSIDE the house with hat and gloves on any longer !!!
A couple of days ago I had the pleasure of working in a new winery in the Orvieto area, where, with a fantastic group of students from the Kansas State University I ran a cooking class. The Cantina Neri, is a family-owned wine cellar, they produce excellent wine and a tasty extra virgin olive oil. I am very happy about this new collaboration and to be able run a cooking class with twenty-three students in a professional kitchen, located in the beautiful hills of Umbria for me was a real honor .
Kansas State University group at the Neri Wine Cellar, pictures by Michele
The barriques cellar
Cooking class at the Cantina Neri
Myself with the students in the process to make gnocchi, picture by Caternia
We worked on a menu of three starters and a hearty plate of homemade gnocchi with a rich sausage sauce. The students showed wonderful enthusiasm and really enjoyed making the food . After the cooking class they then had wine tasting to chose the best wine to accompany the food we had prepared during the class. My friend Graziella ,an excellent Sommelier,taught them what to look for in a glass of wine and how to taste it .
So all in all, we gave them a great welcome to Umbria !!! I must say it was a big success and my many thanks and much appreciation go to Michele ( Graziella’s boyfriend ) for taking the photos and of course last but by no means least my great assistant Caterina.
The exciting news goes on and on……….
Last year my friend Lorna and I ran two Italian cookery workshops in London…….The result is we have been requested to do the same this year ,so I will be returning to this beautiful city in May . I am so happy about that, and that people loved and enjoyed this culinary experience. Added to all that I get the pleasure of working in my new kitchen in Calbourne Road, London. Mamma mia its all happening.
And on and on……….
I am still pinching myself, can it be true???? I have been asked to go to America this year and my answer is YES PLEASE ! So in the middle of March Nick and I will arrive in the USA and travel around three different states, sharing my passion for Italian food. OMG ,HOW AMZAING IS THAT??!!! We will also be visiting lots of old friends who have been to our home and cooked with me in the past. It’s going to be lots of cooking ,eating and fun for nearly three weeks!!
This will be our first visit to the States so we are planning to record our new experience by taking lots of pictures to share with you. Nick is going to pack his camera and as for me I will try to squeeze in a piece or two of Parmigiano cheese
Well that`s all the news for now….I will be posting the USA itinerary soon and if anyone would like to join us for an Italian cooking workshop , it will be great !
So Ciao for today and stay tuned .
It’s tradition in Italy that on Christmas eve we can only eat fish . I have to be honest and admit i don’t remember why . Just like i never remember to order any fish in time.
All across the country people are running around collecting orders or buying fish from their local fishmongers .If you don’t get in quick , you could end up eating fish fingers on this very festive evening .
So , when Nick was asked to go to Portofino , a beutiful Ligurian fishing village in northern Italy on Monday afternoon , i asked him to make sure he came back with a bag of fresh fish . He didn’t look very thrilled at the idea of a long drive home with a dripping ,smelly bag of fish in the back , but said he would try .
Portofino Xmas lights
In the end though , i realize it doesn’t really matter what we will eat . All thats important is family and friends are together and those past are remeberred .
Have a lovely Christmas everyone and we will see you in the New Year .