March 2014

March 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

How to bake bread with the author of “Southern Italian Family Cooking”

I have been a lucky lady this month, with two bread baking experiences, and my latest foray into the art of dough products was a morning spent with my friend, Carmela.

Carmela's demo
On this occasion, Carmela welcomed her 3 students into her bright and cosy kitchen and, whilst we sipped coffee and biscotti and got to know each other, she explained that we would be making Grissini, Fennel bread and a Stromboli made from Foccacia dough. Her friendly and knowledgeable practical demonstration followed and, with the various ingredients already on the table, we then continued by weighing, mixing, and kneading the various doughs. Carmela helped when required and interjected with many great tips for us to use in the future.

Ready for weighing
Baked to perfection
There is nothing like the smell of bread baking in the oven to tempt the taste-buds and, by the end of the class, our huge array of hot, crisp and tasty products made my tummy rumble loudly! Fortunately, Carmela produced a plate of thinly-sliced parma ham with a tomato, mozzarella and basil salad, which we happily munched, together with some of our new bread – it was delicious!

Of course, everything about this lovely lady is Italian. From her family roots to her present-day occupation of tutoring, Carmela produces food for her family and guests that has the warmth and deliciousness of Southern Italy. In fact, her latest book has only recently been published and I’m so pleased that I have a copy on my shelves to dip into when the sky is grey outside and I need to cook with a dollop of generous sunshine. I can assure you, these recipes pack a whole load of flavour into simple ingredients and, as chef and restauranter Theo Randall has quoted, “this is a must buy for any family that loves to cook” – I couldn’t agree more!

Southern Italian Family Cooking by Carmela Sophia Sereno is published by Constable and Robinson and is available from Amazon. Details of her future classes can be found on her website here.

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