Sunday, October 02, 2005

A Sweet & Saucy Start to Sunday

Guess who has been at Cooking School?

photograph picture of recipe figs with greek yoghurt, pistachios and caramel

(No, no, the cooking school isn't on Sundays, but since I am currently working 6 day weeks, Sundays are the only time I get to try what I have learnt.)
Months and months ago, when I was doing a lot of overtime I decided to put aside some of my extra earnings and earmark it for something special. My friend Vinny has always raved about Tante Marie's Cooking School so I decided to give it a try. It was a long wait, but finally the 6 week, one evening a week, Local Artisanal Ingredients Course, taught by Jessica Lasky started last Thursday evening.

Jessica is a lot like me, buying the best ingredients locally and being very happy-go-lucky in the kitchen, not following the recipes too strictly. This isn't a class where I am going to learn a lot of proper techniques. It will teach shortcuts, however, and answer little questions that have been niggling me over the years. Everyone in the class is great, we all band together to create a feast from the produce and recipes, before sitting down together to eat (and eat, and eat) at the end of the class.

Because I had ingredients that would pass for recreating one of Thursday's featured recipes already at home, I decided to assemble it for my breakfast this morning:

Fresh Figs with Greek Yoghurt, Caramel & Toasted Pistachios

I used figs from Knoll Farms which I stuffed with a new (to me) Greek Yoghurt I picked up at Rainbow Grocery, called Three Greek Gods' Artemis, dribbled with caramel and then topped with toasted pistachios. Instead of painstakingly making the caramel like I did last time, I tried it Jessica-style which just meant bunging some sugar in a tall-sided pan, adding just enough water to soak the crystals, heating it, swirling, not stirring, until it boiled and became golden, taking it off the heat and then quickly and carefully stirring in a dollop of creme fraiche. Hey presto - caramel. Easy!

Other delights on the menu for our first lesson: Nectarine Salsa & Triple Creme Crostini | Tiny Corn Popovers with Bacon, Avocado & Cilantro | Roasted Tomato Soup with Sunny Upside Down Crouton | Perigourdine Tartine with Grilled Eggplant & Warm Goat Cheese | Butternut Squash, Arugula and Apple Risotto | Panzanella with Artichokes, Olives & Manchego | Simple Artichoke Salad | Crispy Skinned Salmon with Shaved Fennel & Toy Box Tomatoes | Roasted Vegetables with Oregano Relish | Warm Goat Cheese & Peach Galette | Fresh Figs with Marscapone & Oranges with Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce | (yes we really did eat all that) !

Archive Alert! On this weekend 2004 we recieved an exciting Shipment from France and made Mustard Crusted Pork Loin.

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A Sweet & Saucy Start to Sunday


  • At 2/10/05 13:25, Blogger McAuliflower said…

    Oh my! It looks like an ice cream sundae!

    muttering: I have really got to get some greek yogurt on eof these days...

  • At 2/10/05 14:09, Blogger Rachael said…

    Wow, how long was that class? Sounds like a really great time and a worthwhile experience!

  • At 2/10/05 14:15, Blogger Sam said…

    yes - i thik the caramel was maybe a bit too much for breakfast!

    rachael - the class is about 3.5-4 hours once a week.

  • At 2/10/05 15:57, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    Yow, that's a lot of school -- and a lot of food! What fun.
    I treated Cranky (he's no longer Beloved Husband, at his own request) to a dim sum class (just a one-day thingie) a few years ago, and it was great!
    Tante Marie's is cool. I used to list their class offerings in the food section I worked for at (name deleted) newspaper. Can't wait to hear what more you learn.

  • At 2/10/05 16:49, Blogger deborah said…

    What a great way to spend your hard earned dough.

    the re-creation sounds divine; caramel and tangy yoghurt upon such a lush fig sounds fabulous - the pistachio addition would have tipped me over the edge :)

    hope the work load slows down for you.

  • At 2/10/05 19:42, Blogger J said…

    hi sam, you lucky lucky thing! i've heard so much about tante marie and their wonderful classes...i love figs-anything, and that looks divine...

  • At 3/10/05 06:54, Anonymous Melissa said…

    Yum! Where figs are concerned (or caramel, or pistachios, or even greek yogurt for that matter) you don't have to twist my arm! Can't wait to see what you learn next week ;)

  • At 3/10/05 23:35, Blogger Sam said…

    yyes I am very lucky. I will report more as and when I can


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