First responders took a trip to Italy (via Bermagui) on Friday – learning to cook Potato Gnocchi, Fettuccine Carbonara and Chocolate Fondants from scratch!
We were all very amused by the spectrum of aprons that the participants brought along with them – designs ranged from frills, to winnie the pooh, to a very ‘unique’ design feat guinea pigs and rabbits enjoying a woodland picnic. Who would have thought aprons could be an icebreaker?
Participants muscles got a work out pushing cooked potato through a sieve – nice and fine and airy to ensure our gnocchi were light and fluffy. Unlike the fettucine dough (which had to be kneaded and kneaded) participants learnt the trick with gnocchi is to not overwork it, otherwise you’ll end up with rubber bullets!
Chef Kelly taught us that potatoes should be cooked on a bed of rock salt to dry them out. You could also use sweet potato or pumpkin (but as the pumpkin was much wetter they’d have to incorporate potato as well)
Participants noted how different their gnocchi tasted from store bought. The texture was so light, compared to the often stodgy versions from the supermarket.
As we cooked, Kelly told us about her time working on Masterchef. Participants got a behind the scenes insight into how the show is actually made – a very complex process compared to the finished product that is aired on television.
Participants enjoyed their gnocchi sitting in Eastwoods garden – enjoying soaking up the last rays of sunshine of what had been a beautiful day.
At the end of the lesson conversation turned to how valuable Fortem’s wellbeing activities are to first responder families – how having fun, meeting new people, learning new things is just what is needed to counterbalance all of the challenges that have been thrown our way.
Kelly also noted how Fortem’s wellbeing activities are valuable to local businesses, and that this support is so crucial in these difficult and uncertain times.
During the 2019/20 Fires Kelly’s business was turned into a disaster relief kitchen with World Central Kitchen. She gave us an overview of how the kitchen was transformed into a commercial set up. Together with countless volunteers, Kelly and her team worked around the clock to provide first responders, those on the front line and fire affected communities with thousands of nutritious meals.
As Kelly described the disaster relief operation, it was moving to reflect on how we were now standing in that very same kitchen – though instead of being on the frontline receiving Kelly’s food, first responders were now enjoying a night of learning and laughter and connection.
When it came time to invert the chocolate fondant/ chocolate lava cakes, the friendly competition stepped up a notch. One by one, participants slowly coaxed their cakes from their tins, everyone clapping and cheering when the perfect product plopped out!! There was a real sense of light heartedness and togetherness as we cheered each other on. It was a great way to end the night – the fondant may not have been good for the waistline, but the big belly laughs were good for the soul!
Would you like to join us for an activity for Bega Valley first responder families? Find upcoming Wellbeing Activities on our calendar. Find out Who We Support here.