Imagine this: arriving at someone else’s lovely home in the Marina and taking a look through a beautifully bound recipe guide with all the ingredients prepared and ready (no shopping with whingey toddler required). Two lovely Italian ladies will teach you how to cook amazing Italian food followed by lunch with your group, before you eventually leave a few hours later a culinary whizz, fed and watered with no hassle, and with no dishes and mess to clear away. Definitely my kind of morning!
The delightful duo who run Cooking at Home, Francesca and Cristina, have a slick process they’ve perfected over the past three years and they share their invaluable knowledge of Italian cooking with tips every step of the way. For instance, did you know that Italians don’t actually cook with chopped garlic? Instead, they use as a whole clove to infuse a dish and then remove it (unlike most of us who massacre the thing with a garlic press).
All of the recipes taught have clearly been tried and tested – though being Italian, they’re probably just everyday staple dishes. (So jealous!) The majority of the session is demonstration-based, which means that you have enough time and free hands to make notes along the way in order to replicate the dish as perfectly as they do. Francesca and Cristina also share details with you on where to get the very best ingredients for each dish – very kindly saving us from any disasters or hours trawling supermarket after supermarket.
The recipes I was learning were Crème Caramel, Porcini Mushroom and Ricotta Ravioli and a Creamy Mushroom Tagliatelle (to be eaten in that order in my opinion!). The fun part came with the making of fresh pasta – much esier than it actually looks!
The trick: to start off making a small amount of dough at a time as its far more manageable. It’s heaps of fun; everyone got involved and got their hands dirty. There’s certainly a skill to achieving perfectly rectangular strips of pasta to work with at the perfect thickness!
Once all the prep was complete, it was time to put the dishes together and enjoy lunch as a group which was an absolute delight. As expected, the food did not disappoint. And knowing I could leave and confidently replicate it all for friends and family meant it was a morning well spent!
I would definitely attend the classes again, especially if there’s a recipe in the schedule that I’d love to try out. In fact, everyone in my group was a regular attendee – there were even some Italians mamas looking to freshen up skills they’ve not used in a while!
Interested? Cooking at Home also caters to dietary requirements and host classes twice a week (AED 180 on Wednesday, AED 200 on Saturday inclusive of everything). They can also come to your home and work with a group to cook a meal – often used to kickstart hen parties!