First responders took a trip to Italy (via Bermagui) on Friday, gathering for a wellbeing activity to learn how to cook Ricotta Gnocchi, Fettuccine Carbonara and Chocolate fondants from scratch.
We learned that the key to a good fondant/ chocolate lava cake is to make sure that the mould is well coated in butter and cocoa so that the cake can be inverted (in one piece) once it’s cooked. Participants painted layers of butter, then a dusting of cocoa, then into the fridge – this process was repeated three times throughout the night – laying the groundwork for a perfectly formed fondant (hopefully!)
Making fettuccine from scratch might seem complicated, but with only two ingredients, flour and egg, it was all about the technique – kneading it to a smooth elastic consistency, letting it rest, laminating the dough (folding it in on itself) and then feeding it through the pasta machine until it was thin enough to see your hand showing through.
Before we knew it, our small lumps of dough had turned into super long sheets of pasta that stretched across the benches until there was no room left. Everyone felt a bit uncoordinated wrangling the pasta! Two participants recalled the time that they made pasta with their four children – they told us they had pasta hanging absolutely everywhere, all around their house!
To prevent the sheets of pasta and strands of fettuccine sticking together, Chef Kelly gave us a handy tip; dusting the surface with semolina or polenta keeps them separate, whereas if you used flour the pasta would absorb it.
Participants made carbonara the Italian way – no cream in sight. Using eggs and parmesan, the skill was in taking the dish off the heat when the sauce was glossy and gorgeous… before the egg got scrambled!
It was very amusing to watch the perfectionist come out in people, with one duo making sure they were measuring their flour out to the gram – cheering when they got it exact!
The class inspired one of the participants who said he was definitely going to be getting himself a kitchen aid with a pasta attachment.
Finally the time had come to see if all of the buttering and dusting had paid off. We took it in turns to invert our fondants… the suspense built up as one by one each person slowing coaxed their cake out of it’s tin. There were quite a few that got stuck and resulted in a lava flood (still delicious) and when the perfect cakes came out everyone clapped and cheered.
Participants not only took home their leftover fettuccine, but also uncooked fondants that they could pop in the freezer and take out to impress guests in the future!
Many people commented on how surprised they were by the simplicity of the recipes; how knowing a few simple tips and tricks produced such impressive results.
Would you like to join us for an activity for Bega Valley first responder families? Find upcoming Wellbeing Activities on our calendar.