Back in March I had the pleasure of attending a cookery demonstration by Sam & Sam Clark of the Moro fame at Valvona & Crolla in Edinburgh. Valvona & Crolla is a real treasure, a wonderful Italian delicatessen & wine merchant, founded back in 1934, and they also host various events at their premises. It was a really enjoyable evening, starting with a choice of tapas and a glass of chilled La Guita Manzanilla sherry. Then the Clarks prepared some of their chosen dishes on a makeshift kitchen, and we all had a chance to taste their produce. I watched carefully to learn the secrets of making the paper thin warka dough by tapping the elastic dough on the hot iron skillet; I tried to remember the right way to wrap and fry a Tunisian brik; and watched how a tub of milk was transformed into fresh cheese with the help of just couple of drops of rennet during the cookery demonstration. It was fascinating to see these two chefs in action, and I went home that evening with a bag full of goodies bought from the fabulous Italian delicatessen (incl. a bottle of above-mentioned sherry and a large jar of El Navarrico's Judion de la Granja), and a mental list of dishes to replicate at home.
Oh, and obviously I had my book signed:)
In the days following the cookery demonstration, I successfully made fresh cheese at home, using some organic goat's milk. The resulting fresh cheese was silky, creamy and extremely light-textured. I mixed some with fresh herbs and seasoned with salt - great on some sour rye bread, and the rest I ate with some cinnamon-scented stewed prunes for a pudding.
I slowly caramelised some savoy cabbage wedges in olive oil, bringing out the sweetness of the cabbage. I then seasoned them with salt, garlic and capers - just like Sam & Sam Clark did during their demonstration, adding some bacon to make the dish more substantial. It was a flavoursome and welcome meal on a dreich Scottish winter night.
And as for the giant butterbeans - these I savoured last. Believe me, these butterbeans are so delicate and soft and tasty, that they are good enough to eat straight from the can. I fried some smoked top-quality bacon rashers on my sauce pan (I'm a great fan of the oak-smoked rashers from Puddledub Pork & Fifeshire Bacon Co), then added some cream and half of the beans, heated through and seasoned with fresh dill. This was such a good combination that I prepared the rest of the beans exactly the same way on the following day. I guess it's time to walk down to Leith Walk again and pick up another jar of those tasty buttery giants..