When in Rome recently I attended a cookery class. It was
quite different, to say the least. There were fourteen of us all told, comprised
of 2 Australians, 2 Malaysians, 7 Americans 1 Hungarian and the Italian chef and
his assistant. We had our lessons in a kitchen that seemed to be no bigger than
the one I have at home which feels crowded when it has two people in it. So we
were all crushed in this space trying to have lessons and to cook.
The chef, as he taught, gave different people different
tasks to do. We did not all do the same things together. Consequently, while
you were carrying out your allocated task you missed out on other instructions.
I came away with a hazy idea of how to make the four-course meal though I was
quite strong on slicing and grilling zucchinis (my task).
Despite my reserve about the lessons and the cramped kitchen
the day was quite a lot of fun with a generally friendly and
accommodating group of people. We ended with a big lunch of all that we had
So back home it was time now, I felt, to try out what I had
learned. We had been emailed the instructions so I thought it would be easy
enough to fill in on what I had missed.
We had used large pumpkin flowers rather than zucchini in
our lessons and while I enjoyed the dipping sauce and the crunch of the batter
there was a tang to them that was for me a bit harsh in the flowers themselves.
I was hoping that the zucchini flowers would prove to be better.
The first task was the dipping sauce. We made it with cherry
tomatoes but I had plain tomatoes in the kitchen so I substituted. It was a
matter of placing in the blender all of the ingredients and giving them a burst
until they were ready. The recipe did not supply quantities so I guessed and
added tomatoes, walnuts (we had used them in the class but the recipe stated
almonds), garlic, salt, olive oil and basil leaves. I managed to get a
reasonable dipping sauce though it didn’t seem to be quite like we had in
The zucchini had their pistils removed and a slice of
eggplant and a slice of mozzarella added and they were ready for the batter.
The batter was made by mixing a cup of plain flour with
chilled beer. When this was smooth some chilled sparkling mineral water was
added with a teaspoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of salt. The zucchini were
dipped and deep-fried until crisp.
The resulting crunchy flowers were fun to eat even though I
still get a slightly odd tang from them. It’s not something I would make often
though they do make a different start to a meal.