Galileo said it perfectly

A low-key but lovely morning was spent getting our sleeves rolled up and cooking our own lunch. We did this in the midst of the most breathtakingly beautiful landscape – it was almost impossible to tear our eyes and cameras away from the scenery stretching out in front of us  to go inside.

A simple menu of bread salad, pasta with vegetable ragu and tiramisu kept us concentrating for the morning. We got to keep the recipes as well, so once I am home I’ll probably make some of the menu again and post the recipes if they still taste this yummy!

It’s easy to forget how easy it is to throw together perfect silky smooth pasta, even without the help of a pasta rolling machine. We were a mixed group cooking skills-wise, so the cooking school did well to keep everyone happy and also make sure we served ourselves edible food.

The meal was matched perfectly with accompanying wines as the cooking school was (surprise surprise) attached to a vineyard. We treated ourselves to a beautiful red and I also bought myself a tee-shirt with this beautiful quote from Galileo Galilei.

  Wine is sunlight, held together by water 

Perfect!

Winter Goodness

Having spent a cold wintery week stuck inside feeling a little sorry for myself with a very enthusiastic cold, I decided on Friday that rather than heating up yet again more  store-bought chicken soup (or giving in to getting Friday night take-aways) I would make some for us  – this is what I came up with. I was lucky enough to have everything in the pantry or fridge so it was an efficient meal as well.

The general consensus was that a delicious, fragrant  and steaming hot chowder is an instant antidote to coughs and colds, and most definitely needs be made next time one of us starts sneezing.

Chicken and Corn Chowder

1 small onion
2 cloves garlic (or 2 tspn minced garlic)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 celery stalks halved and then diced
1 carrot diced
1 large potato diced
1 kumera (sweet potato) diced
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2-3 fresh thyme sprigs
2 tbsp plain flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup cream
2-3 cups cooked chicken (I used  left-overs from a  rotisserie chicken)
1 420 gm can corn kernels
salt and pepper
Fresh parsley to serve.

 

Gently fry the onion and garlic in the oil until soft. add celery and carrot and continue to gently fry for another few minutes. Add the chicken, potatoes, kumera, stock and thyme. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for around 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

Take some of the hot liquid from the soup. Cool a bit and then mix in the flour. Return to the saucepan and stir until mixture thickens slightly. Add chicken, corn, milk and cream and simmer for 5 – 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with crusty bread.

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