Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Learning culinary secrets of Italy

I had the opportunity to cook with Emmanuela during our stay. 

We started to prepare the main course (secondi) first which was Ossobuco. This is a tradional italian dish that is made throughout Italy - with different variations on the recipe. 
It is a beef dish comprising of a basic 'sugo' with tomatoes and cuts of beef from the spine. 

We left the stew cook slowly over a very low heat for around four hours. 

Whilst we were busy cooking, dad and Massimo had a mini wine tasting afternoon. They sampled a few bottles of Barbera and Sagnionvese, all of different years and wine producers.

They spent the afternoon sampling the wine, talking, a lot of laughing and eating salami, parmigiano and bread.
What more could a guy want?

In the meantime Emmanula and I made a start on the lasagna di verdura. This is the tradional lasagna of North Italy, made only with green pasta, ragu and bechemel sauce.

After making the bechemel sauce, we assembled the lasagna, layer by layer. 

Massimo showed dad his own vineyard in the gardens of Podere Prasiano.

We then made dessert - my favourite tiramisu! :) 
Throughout the afternoon, Emmanula shared many of her ideas and recipes with me. I have discovered that Italian people never have a "recipe" for a dish, they simple just create dishes on what they have fresh that day. They have no proportions or ratios of ingredients, they simple go by the taste and smell of the dish. It's a wonderful skill to have! 

To accompany the secondi dish of Osso Bucco we made one of my favourites, rosemary potatoes! I now know how to create the perfect marinade for these potatoes! :) 

For the antipasto, we made pastry stuffed with different fillings, one being spianch and ricotta and the other beef. 
The beef was a leftover piece from the previous night, but with added vegetables and herbs. 
This beef was also made into mini meatballs. I was so surprised, that 10 mins before dinner is served Emmanula had no idea what the antipasto would be! It was amazing to see how her mind worked pulling lots of different ingredients together.

By this time 8:00, Massimo and Dad had been sipping the wine for 6 hours and managed to drink 4 bottles between them! But it was time to sample the dishes Emmanula and I had prepared.

The first, the antipasto. The meatballs were amazing! You would have never guessed they were made with leftovers! It's definaly something I'm cooking when I'm home. 

The primi course was the lasagna di verdura. It was beautifully creamy and gorgeous! Definaly the best lasagna in Italy! 

For the secondi, the Ossobuco was accompanied by a salad dressed in balsamico and rosemary potatoes. 
The beef was heavenly. It literally just fell off the bone, it was tender and silky! 

For the dessert, tiramisu. It was sooo delicious! Defiantly the best tiramsui! 

I enjoyed my cooking lesson so much! But for me it wasn't just a one off lesson, I learnt so much! Not only did I discover recipes, I learnt a whole new way of life in the kitchen! I'm honoured to have been told these tips by Emmanuela

The following morning Emmanuela made our favourite breakfast cake! Her breakfasts are most defiantly the BEST in Italy! 

One of the best things here is the Green Fig trees - they are the oldest trees in the grounds. The green ones are gorgeous compared to the black ones!
I only wish they sold green figs in the UK. I might convince dad to grow them in the garden! :)

We spent the day visiting small towns and ended up visiting the Ferrari car museum.


I even got to touch one Ferrari, hahaa! :)


For dinner, Emmanuela made us the most delicious unforgettable fair well dinner. 
For antipasto, she made her sons favourite soup, which is made with potatoes, beans and lentils. 
It's far more delicious and tasty than it sounds trust me! 

For the primi course we had risotto with zucchini. It was creamy and perfectly cooked with a slight bite. Stunningly fresh! The slight drizzle of sweet balsamic most defiantly made this dish perfect!

For secondi we had roast pork and roast turkey which was rolled with an egg filling.
To accompany the meat we had fresh tomatoes from the garden and a salad.

For dessert we had fresh homemade gelato, made with strawberries - yum!

The following morning we were so sad to leave Emmanuela and Massimo at Podere Prasiano. 
But Massimo took us for a drive in the morning to a flour mill which they use.
The flour grinder was powered by the water mill. Originally the grinding patterns were made of wood but now steel.

This is a small family business that has been handed down generation by generation.
The owner was so jolly and happy! A true Italian!

On the drive to the mill, Massimo took us on the "old road", it's more like a path, haha. Very narrow and a rough track.
He showed us his fields and the house he was born in and owns. It was lovely to see the old building and have an insight in to Massimos family history.

We are truely going to miss our friends, Emmanuela and Massimo, greatly! 
No words can describe how much we enjoyed our 7 days in Podere Prasiano.

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