Me, an Italian Chef? UNLIKELY! Ok, so the likelihood that I will ever achieve greatness in the sphere of cooking is VERY unlikely, especially given that I’m English, and everyone knows we can’t cook! And so earlier this week, in a desperate attempt to improve, I embarked on a ‘basics’ cooking course………
The course called ‘Curso Basico de Cocina Italiana’ is being run by Italian chef Lisa Perrone at her husband’s very well-known and well-liked La Romana restaurant – Lucas. For more information about the course, click here.
The first class was a whirlwind of kneading, stirring and prodding dough, which miraculously became rather yummy bread, pizza and focaccia!
We prepared the ingredients – apparently it’s very important that you have everything ready before you begin, something I’ve never been good at! And then following the recipe (again something I don’t really believe in we prepared the dough. With (ample) help from Lisa it felt like the dough made itself – maybe because she forced me to actually follow the recipe.
The kneading part was fun – you have to really ‘feel’ the dough; pull it apart and mash it back together. I must say I don’t exactly have a natural talent for this – but nevertheless I managed it!
Actually making the pizza and foccacia is pretty easy – roll out dough, cut into a circle (use a plate as a template) and add tomato, cheese etc. A good tip I did learn at this point was that you should not just drizzle olive oil straight onto the dough to make foccacia (as you would imagine), but you should mix the oil with water and beat it about until it gets ‘fluffy’ (this translation may be a little inaccurate) and then use that on the dough – I can’t remember why you should do this, maybe so it doesn’t burn and get too crispy? Maybe to keep some moisture in the dough?
Anyway, we then used exactly the same dough to make small bread rolls, which we were instructed to do in a variety of shapes; bows, balls, rectangles, swirls. I decide to do love hearts and inscribed the letters ‘P’ and ‘R’ into them – not overly successfully, but they looked really cute!
We used the restaurant’s pizza oven to cook them and so they were done in no time, which meant we had time to taste everything before we went home! It was all so good – we may have eaten a little too much and so my boyfriend was a little disappointed when I arrived home with only 2 slices of pizza, 2 slices of foccacia and a number of heart-shaped bread rolls!
The course continues next week with fresh pasta – if you’d like to join the course or find out more, click here.
The pizza – finished off with some basil:
Cheese and tomato calzone – so easy to make! Just take the pizza dough, roll it out, squish some chopped tomato and cheese in the middle and wrap it up! It was DELICIOUS – it never made it home!
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