I’ve learned so much this week at Chateau Ventenac. We all have. And it all seemed to come together over last night’s dinner prep. What was supposed to be a leisurely afternoon of cooking turned into a wonderfully mad explosion of food-inspired energy.
A morning at Narbonne’s covered market resulted in a sudden influx of food, some familiar (peppers, asparagus, peas), others not so much (celeriac, turnip, kumquats). Our creative juices went on overdrive and from 2 to 8pm we cooked nonstop: podding peas, grating veggies, making paella, and a whole lot of chopping. When the boulangerie was closed, I typically volunteered to make Fougasse (it’s not only easy, but it’s a very quick bread to make when there’s only an hour or two to spare before dinner).
In the end, the dinner menu was epic: two types of paella, zucchini with bechemel sauce, celeriac slaw, turnip salad, cornbread, cucumber yogurt dip, aubergine “fondue”, strawberries, stuffed kumquats, cheese and of course, the Fougasse. It was fantastic. The beauty of these multi-day cooking courses is that you have a few days to warm up, and by the end, everyone’s has the confidence to take on their own creations and share it with the rest of the group.
A phenomenal evening, topped off with lots of wine and conversation, mostly about food, including some of our favourite chefs and cookbooks. David Liebowitz, Mark Bittman, Heidi Swanson, and Clotilde Dusoulier were mentioned, to name a few. And I thought – what better time to giveaway a cookbook inspired by this week’s generous author, Rachel Demuth?
To win the cookbook, all you have to do is leave a comment and I’ll pick a winner at random on Friday, May 14th.
For a preview of what you’ll find, check out some of these recipes on Rachel’s website, or pop on over to mangocheeks’ blog and check out her recent go at Celeriac and Horseradish burgers, inspired by the same book.