4 December 2012

GUEST BLOG: Talking Italian

By guest blogger SIOBHAN

Monday 3 December saw Cracking Good Food bring together six residents of the Approved Premises for an Italian cooking session, making two pasta sauces: carbonara and puttanesca.

The session began with a short talk about the ingredients that would be used today and a little history about the origins of these dishes. First off, capers: if the caper bud is not picked, it flowers and produces a fruit called a caper berry. The fruit can be pickled and then served as a Greek mezze or used in recipes such as pasta puttanesca. Unripe nasturtium seeds can be substituted for capers; they have a very similar texture and flavour when pickled.

For the carbonara sauce (pictured top), we fried sliced bacon and garlic and chopped mushrooms. These were then added to our creamy sauce, made by adding grated cheese to a roux base (flour was mixed into melted butter to make a paste, then hot milk was added gradually to make a sauce). Puttanesca (pictured bottom) is an Italian hot tomato sauce consisting of: tins of tomatoes, onions, olives, capers, anchovies, chopped parsley, chillies.

Halfway through the session the group split into pairs to work together in completing the dishes, so everyone got to see how both meal was put together, then, once the table was set, it was time to sample the meal. And what a delight it was: rich, tasty, colourful and filling. It was difficult to stop dishing out more helpings - I must confess to having three platefuls, it was so delicious!

Well done to the group, who worked so well as a team today prepping and cooking and helping to clear and wash up.

More photographs from this session can be seen on the Cracking Good Food Facebook page.

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