Thursday, 15 May 2014

Italian Cookery Course - Day Six, Thursday 15th May 2014

Cookery school began again early this morning – well 10 o'clock is quite early after the night before. We were a few people down today – only the hardy ones of us left! It might also have had something to do with the glorious sunshine shining on the sun loungers in the garden.
Things are also getting slack in the kitchen – the recipes we had on the sheets of paper even had to be handed out amongst ourselves. Strangely enough, Maximillian went through recipes that weren't on the sheets, and didn't really stick to the ones that were. It was fish day today – he had been to the market and bought a good selection for us to get our teeth into. We had clams, mussels, shrimps, a large fish that looked like a bream and anchovies.
We had to start by filleting the anchovies – quite easy, pull off the head, pull out the innards and the bone and you're there. These were then soaked in salt and vinegar to “cook” for half an hour. One done. We then had to fillet the fish. Yuk! Scales had to be cleaned, fins had to be cut off, then it had to be filleted. We didn't make too bad a job of it – there was still meat left on the fillet when we had finished. Nothing is wasted – the bones and head went into a pan to make the fish stock. Then we wrapped the fish in foil with a topping of potato, celery, onion and tomato, wrapped it up and then it would go in the oven just before it was served.

We actually had a break for an hour, as we were making risotto for our lunch, and that had to be served immediately. Had to sit out in the sun for an hour then. Hard life! We went back, made the risotto and then had to come out again to eat it. It was such a beautiful day we had it out in the garden. Perfect! And we had all afternoon before wine tasting commenced at 5pm. Most took the opportunity for a siesta!

Maximillian, we discovered, was also a trained sommelier. We had different wines to try with different cheeses and meats so that we could see what goes best with what. All tasted the same to my uneducated pallet, but those that knew, knew. And some of us had finished the food before the wine came, and some had finished the wine before he suggested what food to have with it. Oh dear – he is flying to Billund tomorrow. Wonder if that was a last minute trip!! I do think we have given him a few comical moments – either that or he has wanted to put his head in the gas oven!
We finished this wine and nibbles section at 7pm – and had to be ready for dinner at 8pm. Non-stop eating and drinking. It was definitely a seafood night tonight. First course was the anchovies cooked in salt and vinegar – I think they had had another couple of tweaks before we got them. Then we had mussels, then we had spaghetti with shrimp and clams, and then we had our pocket fish. Beautiful – and really didn't feel that full. I hope it was because it was a lighter meal (even though there was an extra course thrown in) rather than my body getting used to the amount of food! We actually left one lady in the dining room when we left – we jokingly told her to switch the lights off when she had finished, but on the way out the kitchen was in complete darkness!

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