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Spring supplies a feast of food and fun10-10-2011
While the first month of spring has seen only small bursts of sunlight breaking through the winter weather in southern Australia, we're still celebrating the turn of season, most recently with our Italian Spring Feast public workshop.
Our beautiful Learning Centre was a welcoming beacon in the dark for nearly 20 enthusiastic kitchen gardeners, who braved a cold Melbourne night to join our host, Teresa Oates, in this seasonally-centred session. Teresa led everyone through an array of spring dishes that had everyone's tastebuds readying for the coming harvest.
The group had an enlightening time exploring the ins and outs of artichokes (keep those lemons handy!) and came away with a few new techniques including a really simple preserving method as well as a traditional recipe for stuffed artichokes. Teresa kept them busy with a quick pasta-making demonstration, then had everyone rolling their own sheets to make Pea & Pancetta Filled Ravioli With Sage & Butter Sauce - an absolute winner and really simple when you know how. In just three hours the group managed to fit in a Spring Risotto of Broad Beans too.
With small groups at each station, just like our kitchen classes, everyone had a hand in preparing each element of the feast. Teresa ensured we all understood the different sections of the artichoke and how to handle it for maximum flavour, that everyone got their hands on a just-right sheet of firm but pillow-soft pasta, that everyone understood what ‘podded' and ‘double podded' means when it comes to broad beans.
We were also entertained with stories from Teresa's Italian roots, and inspired by her drive to share her family's traditional dining customs with the rest of us. It was also enlightening to share our experiences, along with the feast, over a glass of wine at the end of the night. We're sure many attendees are now intent on a stocking the pantry with their own artichokes, olives and pancetta, just waiting for friends to drop by to share the goodness. As Teresa very ably demonstrated, it's really very easy to use the fresh harvest to create dishes to enjoy now as well as over the seasons to come.
‘I had the most wonderful time last night at Teresa's workshop. It was actually more than I expected and I learnt so much. Teresa is fantastic and very approachable and the girls helping her were lovely and worked very hard all night. The food was amazing and I'm going to attempt some of the recipes on the weekend. We had such a lovely evening. Thank you.' (Spring Feast workshop participant)
A huge thanks to all who participated - it really was a great night for all concerned.
- Teresa's third Italian-inspired Kitchen Garden Foundation workshop this year - Southern Italian Sweets on 29 October - will look at cooking a variety of the beautiful sweet treats created in the Southern Italian kitchen, just in time for Christmas. Simply book your place online.
- To learn more about the fabulous Teresa Oates, just visit MangiaMangia.com.
- And don't forget to join our mailing list to receive news on upcoming workshops - new 2012 public workshop schedule coming soon!
Our workshops are all based on the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation's mantra of growing, harvesting, preparing, sharing, and are hosted by passionate leaders in the fields of cooking and gardening. They are held at our beautiful new Learning Centre in the grounds of the Kitchen Garden Program's first school, Collingwood College in inner-city Melbourne.
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