We had been waiting for this cooking experience for weeks. It was important to us to make this travel a learning experience since we love to cook and eat.
Chef Gianna and Giorgio gave us the full experience of cooking in traditional Lecce style. We met in the early evening by Piazza del Duomo. We strolled together to the market in a leisurely way while getting to know more about each other. We all have a passion for cooking, eating, and enjoying good company as a common characteristic.
Market experience was fun, we watched how Gianna and Giorgio selected cheese, tomatoes, and other ingredients. The market owner and staff were great. This is an integral part of feeling and breathing the whole experience. These are the kinds of memories that are priceless. We loved it!!
We arrived at the beautiful Cooking Experience kitchen. This is where they cook and entertain the guests.
It is lovely, comfortable, fully equipped with anything needed for cooking a great meal.
The menu was focaccia, orecchiette, stuffed eggplants, and pastacciotto , which is the local custard desert.
Drinking wine 🍷🍷 while we cooked made the whole process even more fun. Chef Gianna is full of great tips and lessons. We made the entire dinner from scratch!!
Learning how to make the orecchiette was amazing. We made eggless pasta dough that could be used for any type of pasta. Chef Gianna showed us in detail how to make the pasta.
We tried our best to follow Chef Gianna’s instructions. Yes! she did use the pasta we made for dinner. She was gracious and kind to say we did well. We think we need more practice 😉
The fully hand on experience was very satisfying. We made everything together. Giorgio assured us not to worry about taking notes since he send the precise recipes to all the students. This helped us relax, concentrate and have more fun.
Voilà!! the finished pasta… it was as delicious as it looks. What’s remarkable is that time flew by, we had great laughs, and a great meal while learning without any strain or intimidation. Giorgio and Chef Gianna have this easy going style that makes any level cook feel comfortable.
While we did only one day, you can customize and book several sessions with Chef Gianna. Start planning your cooking experience; contact Giorgio for details at firstname.lastname@example.org 🇮🇹
On bitter bitter cold nights one sure way of warming up is a delicious bowl of bone broth. as the temperatures dropped so did my tolerance for the cold. So I bought a pound of beef bones from my neighborhood hunting based organic butcher.
With a friends help I set out to make bone broth. It is one of the best and easiest things to make. Besides being good for your health it becomes a great base for many soups, rice, and other dishes. Let’s get started: a pound of bones, 2 carrots, 1 large onion, a bunch of parsley, 2 bay leaves, 5 whole all spice pieces, 2 stalks of celery, half a cup of apple cider vinegar, water to cover.
You will need a pressure cooker!!
Yes, without it you might be boiling this for days.
Roast the bones in the Owen for 30-40 minutes, then put them in the pressure cooker, coarsely chop and add the veggies and cider vinegar. Then add the spice and bay leaves. By the way you can improvise and add other spices if you like – but remember if you want to use this in cooking other meals having it plain is best. And yes… there is no salt added for the same reason.
Once you have everything in the pressure cooker add water to cover the bones. You are now ready to cook!!! it will take roughly 4-5 hours and the aroma will fill your kitchen. This will make 2 large tubs of broth and I recommend you freeze them so you can keep on using the broth without spoiling it.
You are probably wondering why vinegar?? It helps bleach the nutrients and the marrow out of the bones more easily. Helps make the broth richer. You can adjust the quantity of how much you use as long as you use some.We watched a romantic comedy, laughed, and had couple of glasses of Champaigne while the pressure cooker did all the job! Result was just yummy and its a gift that keeps on giving on these cold cold nights. Hope you give it a try! Cheers!!
Love weekends when we can fully relax and cook savory cozy meals that speak to the soul and heart.
This is a favorite dish especially for cold winter nights. Yet so easy to make, but sure to delight the senses. Ingredients:
2 small yellow peppers
Couple medium sized zucchinis
4-5 medium sized firm tomatoes
1 lb Organic ground beef
1 cup of Organic jasmine rice
3 cloves of fresh pressed garlic
Crumbled feta for the top
Was the veggies and hollow them out. Careful not slice your hands open or cut through the veggies. You need both 😉 to enjoy this meal. Using a small melon baller might help, but I use a nice small sharp knife. Goal is to hollow the veggies without damaging the shell that will keep the stuffing.
Put hollowed veggies in a container of water and salt mixture (brine) while you mix up the stuffing.
Best beef for this is organic and semi fat. Don’t go lean – the dish with be way too dry and tasteless. For vegetarians; omit the beef and use a coarse chop of the hollowed out innards, add mushrooms and viola! Turn the oven on to 475 degrees and get your baking dish ready.
Mix up the beef with spices, rice, and pressed garlic. Use as much spices to your liking and diet. Drizzle olive oil as you are mixing the stuffing – again amount is up to you. We love bathing in it so we go wild!
Stuff each veggie somewhat loosely to allow for the rice expansion as it cooks. Place the veggies upright. Once done stuffing them all. Pour a lukewarm water at the bottom of baking dish – just enough to come up to quarter of the height. With a spoon carefully put some of the lukewarm water into each veggie as well – makes for more moist stuffing.
Cover up the baking dish with a parchment paper to help it steam while cooking and keep the moisture. Bake for 40 minutes. Then turn off the over, put crumbled feta on top of each veggie and broil till feta is pink and melty.
Pull out let it cool for 2 minutes and serve up!!
Sure to be a hit – enjoy it and let us know what you think after you tried it. Live well. Eat well. Love well !
When was the last time you took a cooking class?? Think my last cooking class was learning how to make truffles and other chocolates two years ago. So when my friend Jennifer saw the cooking class and asked if I would go – answer was a huge YES!
On our blog We write a lot about always learning and surprising yourself. So we believe in grabbing these opportunities. Listen – we don’t think we have to be good at it either. You don’t have to be half a chef to take a class.
Love eating the Samosa but never tried making them. Chef Huma S. showed us how to make them from scratch and two other dishes too. She was a great teacher, very easy going which made the class relaxing. Enjoyed her stories and cooking style; gadget free, almost all a single pot dish, … if you could only smell the cooking food mmmm
Class took 3 hours and yes we ate everything we made at the end. Delicious dinner with new people we met at the class…
Working on vegan potato stuffed samosa:
Chef Huma made these other dishes:
I was trying to make the Samosa too perfect, she said just pinch it shut and don’t worry so much. It will be delicious. I made quite a few of them and she was frying them on the side. We ate the Samosa with the raita sauce she made. They were the best ones I have had ;))
Can’t wait to make these myself these dishes during fall and winter.
🌟 Chef Huma’s website is whitejasmine.com where she shares the recipes and sells her own spice mixes on the website.
If the title did not give it away already… We are doing another class to learn making something sweet – it will be surprise!!
It’s great recipe for any time especially for tea time gatherings I can eat half of this yummm :)) and the only food I can’t resist anyway let’s make it!
500 gr. organic parsley, chard or spinach
6 yufka (special thin pastry for bourak)
200 gr. organic feta cheese
1 cup organic Greek yogurt
1 organic egg
1/2 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
1 cup mineral water
Optional ( salt, pepper and flaked red pepper)
Optional ( sesame seeds or black cumin)
Preheat oven to 180 C.
Wash and dice any green you choose.
Crumble the cheese with fork and mix it with greens.( If you will use the salt, peeper and flaked pepper add them and mix them as well)
In separate bowl mix yogurt, olive oil and egg well.
Grease the pan with oil take 1 yufka and spread it over the pan the pan should be smaller than yufka I used rectangle pan you can use round or and form you like just make sure it’s smaller than the yufka.
Spread over the yufka from yogurt mixture with help of brush.
Spread 2 more yufka’s by wrinkling them and again for each one spread the yogurt mixture over.
Now spread all the feta and green filling all over the yufkas.
Repeat the yufka and yogurt spread by wrinkling the yufkas when you complete this take the corners of the bottom yufka and fold it over the top.
Cut the bourak in pieces if you still have yogurt mixture pour it all over the top.
Gradually pour the mineral water all over the top of the bourak.
Last week I realized for very long time I didn’t use my dried beans and that wasn’t good because always when I was thinking to make them but the long time to prepare them causes easily to giving up without even thinking further. One day while I was thinking how to solve this dried bean problem a great idea light up immediately to rescue! Yessss, Soaking! boiling! and freezing! dried beans.
While soaking the reddish beans to save energy and time I diced to soak all of the dried beans, chickpeas and green lentils I didn’t boil the chickpeas and green lentils ( but if you like you can) just drain them well and freeze them but I boiled the reddish beans and beans they are super short-cut to your meal after long working/tired day. Just de-freeze how much you need and boil them with little water and salt about 5-10 min.
Enjoy it over your salad, in mazza or main dishes.
Let’s start up to something quicker&healthier!
1 medium organic onion thinly sliced
1 cup cooked organic reddish beans
1 small organic avocado
1-2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp sumac
1 tbs pomegranate sour or lemon juice
2 tbs of finely diced organic parsley (optional)
Soak reddish beans in 4-5 cups boiled water over night
Rinse them well
Cook them 30-40 min. or more or less until you can taste to mash them with back of spoon on a plate easily this shows they are done.
Drain them if there is excess water.
Add half tsp of salt and mix the beans.
Mix half tsp of salt and sumac with diced onions.
Mix onions, beans and parsley add pomegranate sour and olive oil.
Put it into one side of serving plate.
With help of spoon remove the skin of avocado and cut into chunks.
Put it beside the beans.
Enjoy this delicious healthy dish over special dried bread called baqisma or tacos or favorite choice of your bread.
Ok, finally I decided to write about my obsession with anything coconut. Have always really liked coconut, but about few years ago got more serious as I learned more about the healthy benefits of coconut.
Coconut is another miracle of nature that is yummy and smells amazing. So many uses for this amazing nut – hard not to love it.
Coconut Juice and Flesh Best way to experience this is to have fresh coconuts. I will never forget the coconuts in Thailand. Last year, during our trip to Thailand coconut juice became our official drink. We were delighted to also discover we could scrape and eat the flesh. Coconut juice is more hydrating than water.
Coconut Flakes Coconut flakes come in various shapes and sizes. Most common use is in baking. I love the large hefty flakes that I can crunch and taste the coconut flavor. I use them in the mornings: little yogurt, blueberries, and coconut flakes!
Coconut Butter Warning – if you read beyond this section we will not be responsible for your coconut addiction.
Coconut butter is great for cooking, baking, or just as a spread on a piece of good bread. BUT mixing couple spoonfuls mixed with dark cocoa powder makes the best impromptu desert!!
Coconut Oil Yes, you can cook with it. BUT even more importantly you can use it for your skin and hair. I am close to ditching my body lotion altogether and completely switch over to coconut oil. It is important to emphasize you should use organic cold pressed virgin coconut oil. If your hair is too fine you may not want to use it besides as a mask to nourish the hair. But if you are sporting a bushy lush head of hair – your hair will love you for using coconut oil. Btw – if you live in a cold climate the coconut oil will naturally solidify, that does not mean it is bad. This is normal, it will easily turn liquid with a bit of warmth.