Going Wild in the Country…
Earlier in October we held our second ‘Go Wild in the Country’ cookery courses at Bruern Cottages in the Cotswolds. The concept of the weekend was to teach a course that maximised on the fresh, seasonal produce available in the English countryside creating a range of dishes using local game, fish, vegetables and hedgerow foraged ingredients. Then using some of the preserving techniques and skills we wrote about in our book ‘The Gentle Art of Preserving’.
A small group of 10 enthusiastic attendees took on a range of tasks from preparing salmon ready for hot and cold smoking to making sourdough bread, from making chutney to using local milk to make labneh.
Simply hot smoking tomatoes gave a whole new dimension to the fruit which became the centre piece of a simple salad.
It was a packed weekend and our guests were busy either cooking or eating for most of the waking hours. We took an early morning foraging expedition on the Sunday which proved (excuse the pun) pretty fruitless as a wet night previously meant the edible fungi were all in hiding, though we did find sloes and picked young nettles for nettle gnocchi. The season’s blackberries were on their way out and the squirrels had beaten us to the cob nuts but an early morning walk did wonders for blowing away the cobwebs and rejuvenating the appetite.
As our most recent book ‘Venice – Recipes Lost and Found’ was a week away from launch and very fresh in our minds we also cooked dishes from the book. Including a ‘Good Game Pie’ and the wonderfully different ‘Chicken with Ginger, Saffron and Dates’ which has its roots firmly in the spice trading past of the Venetians.
Of course no cookery weekend with the Caldesi’s would be complete without fresh pasta and we made many types, including tasty beetroot pasta which we stuffed with our own smoked bacon, ricotta and thyme… truly delicious!
We created so many dishes and explored so many different techniques of preserving over the weekend it would create a book in itself but high points included the sour dough breads which rose to the occasion e despite the starter foaming out of the kilner jar in the heat of the car as we travelled to Bruern.
One of the reasons that both Giancarlo and I teach is that we really do love it when we ignite a spark for the passion for great food in people. We we’re therefore delighted when all the course attendees started an email chain after the course sending pictures of their efforts post course. From Barry who went home and built his own outdoor cold smoker using a rabbit hutch to Anne who took our starter and baked some delicious looking sour dough loaves and Sheila who recreated our Venetian apple cake.
Our next ‘Go Wild in the Country’ course will be in the Autumn of 2015 and details will be released next year. If you’d like to be kept up to date on dates and offers then subscribe to the Caldesi e-letters here.