Farm to Table Dinner Event

End of Summer is on the horizon.  We try to celebrate the season in every way possible before the cold and snow hits the streets.

Campo Di Bella farm and winery hosted a wonderful vegetarian dinner event last night. We had the joy of attending it.  

What a fantastic way to support local farming community and artisans. 

29 guests, 7 courses, and a lot of joy…


Every course was light refreshing and made us taste the summer sunshine!


Zucchini tart or art?? 😍  

Get out there and celebrate the summer!!!

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Catania Fish Market

We spent some time in the city of Catania while in Sicily.  Though short it was full of action and the kind we like: adventure and food!!

Private tour guide helped make most of our tour. Will tell you more about that next time 😉 

We love local markets, seeing the live local culture in action is just priceless…


A short walk from our hotel, the Catania fish market was waiting to welcome us. It was like heaven for us, the variety of days catch – all sorts of fish, shellfish, octopus,… lively stall keepers shouting for their goods…  

At the skirts of the fish market the vegetable and fruit stalls and accompanied by olive and cheese tables.  Making sure the shoppers will have a pick of the best for tonight’s dinner!

For more photos follow us on Instagram: surprisesaffron

Italy!  Puglia! – Let’s Cook

Can you tell we are counting days and how excited we are for our next adventure!

We will report live from our cooking experience, but wanted to share our research with you.  Very important for any traveller to connect with their host chef and understand what they are signing up for. 

So here we go… 

                To find more Please visit 

cookingexperience.it.com

Weekend Cooking: Stuffed Stuff

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.
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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
Salt
Olive oil
Black pepper
Red pepper
All spice
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.
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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.
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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.
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Live well. Eat well. Love well !

Cooking Class 2: Raspberry Mousse Cake anyone!

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Today we took the raspberry mousse cake class. Wowwww… so this is quite something, we learned a lot about how elaborate and technical this is. Chef Pierre Ferland said “it’s 90% science 10% art – and that 10% is the hardest”. Think this was supposed to be a clue for what’s to come.

So this cake is done in 5 stages and things have to be in specific order, otherwise it does not work. Trust me all 8 students we tried and asked what if we do this or that first — Chef Pierre said “Ok, then you will end up with something else but not a raspberry mousse cake!”

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Stage 1:
Make the simple syrup so it can take time to cool off. You will use it for the raspberry filling and later to brush the layers of the cake to give it moisture.

Stage 2:
You must do the raspberry mousse. This way it can take time for gelatin and the mousse to set to the right consistency to become the filling. Make sure to strain the raspberry purée so all the seeds are taken out.

Stage 3:
Make the genoise (cake). It is not hard but the key is to put it in already heated owen rightaway so it won’t collapse. Also do NOT tap to even out the cake in the pan, use your hand to smooth it out quickly, otherwise it will again collapse. Don’t you love all the tips and tricks — we would not have known any of this if Chef Pierre did not tell us and demonstrate.

Stage 5:
While the cake is baking, make the Le Creme Chantilly which is the frosting that will cover and decorate the cake. Tip here was to start with a cold mixer bowl!!

Assembly:
Are you stable handed?? Well this is the test!! Cut the cake into 3 straight even layers. With a brush brush first layer with simple syrup, then smooth over some of the mousse, do the same with the other two layer and build up your cake tower. Then use some of the mousse to cover the sides of the cake. Finally, use the Chantilly to frost and decorate the cake. You can also use toasted almonds to coat the sides for a more rustic look. Tip: put the cake in the fridge for hour or two before cutting it, helps it set and be easier to cut.
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Remember… We did not say this was easy or simple. Apparently after 2 years of apprenticeship this became easy for Chef Pierre. I believe it.
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Finally – cut and serve! Bon Appetite!!

Thankfully, Chef Pierre said we could make the cake the day before – so you can do this in 2 days if you need the time. In any case, if you are excited to try this delicious cake, let me know and I will provide you the full recipe.
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Cooking Class 1: Let’s make Samosa!

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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:
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Chef Huma made these other dishes:
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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 ;))
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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!!

Bourak

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For Sunday 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.

Sprinkle cumin seeds or sesame seeds.

Bake it 30 min. or until golden brown on top.

ENJOY it warm or cold !