Cooking up a storm

First of all last night we had the biggest storm and I was awake for ages. It started about 2 and continued for about 3hours A one point it sounded like canons being fired down the streets.
So after a not very good night sleep we headed  off to find a taxi. I was very proud of myself because I managed to ring for a taxi and spoke to the operator in Italian

Pat and I did the most wonderful cooking class. I saw it advertised and sent an email to Paolo Monti and arranged to go today. It was held at an hotel about 20 mins from Lucca . We met chef Paolo and he was a typical Italian -short and charming man. The were 3 others – Pam and Peter from NY and Wendy from England. 

Well we were straight into it. There was a booklet with 3 starters, 3 pasta sauces and 3 main course. We  thought we would just be doing 1 of each but no Chef Paolo had other ideas and we were set to work chopping etc and got the sauces under way . The dolce started and various other tasks. He was so organised with a wicked sense of humour! 
We sat down to start eating around 12.30 and then had a break  to get the next part ready. By 3 we were full – of food , wine and great ideas for cooking. 

Some of the food included a lettuce sauce for prawn and pasta, a cooked tomato sauce to make other things to , a raw tomato sauce with basil on pasta:  porcini mushroom, shrimp and garlic sauce: lemon sauce for pork: , red wine, Marsala balsamic sauce with grapes reduction for beef,: fennel and orange salad topped with shrimp, caper berries:   mussels with vegetable garliccream , wine and Pernod ! Yum! 

I can’t tell you what a wonderful time we had. So much fun, so much cooking, so much food. Needless to say we didn’t eat a thing for the rest of the day. We went for a late passeggiata and around 9.30 had a  lemoncello (and listened to some jazz), purely for medicinal purposes ! It aids digestion. This I know as we went on a little tasting yesterday and limonchino was one we tried ( and bought) . 

Catherine arrives tomorrow and sadly Pat leaves. She has been great company and I’m sorry to say goodbye to her. 


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