PCH Cooking School was so privileged to have the experience of Lloyd Morse sharing his passion, knowledge and love of food, cooking and eating. With lashings of travel stories and a palpable love of the garden (especially excited by what we picked from PCH veggie and herb garden to use in the cooking), I think it is fair to assume that everyone left the classes being inspired. I will not compare him to anyone else as Lloyd is such a unique, witty, engaging and knowledgeable person in his own right, it would be such a disservice to compare him to other chefs. Salt, onions, olive oil and vinegar were the big winners in Lloyd’s classes, with all of us forming a new found respect for each of these ingredients.
The Sicilian holiday started off with us tasting spaghetti al tripanese, followed by involtini di carne alla Siciliana and caponata. If the rapture that surrounded the way Lloyd talked about how much he loved Sicily had not convinced us that we all wanted to travel there, then his generous serving of watermelon jelly with chocolate and pistachio certainly sealed the deal!
Commencing the Provençale lunch menu had most of us declaring that we were not convinced that artichokes were worth the effort …..how amazed we were all by the taste of Artichokes bargoule, with the most tasty sauce being soaked up by crunchy bread. Maybe, just maybe, the effort is worth it? The pissaladiere convinced me that I could indeed eat anchovies and the ratatouille was so different to the mornings serving of Caponata, although so many of the same vegetables were used. Peaches (again, lovingly picked from the PCH fruit orchard by Tezza) were served with crème anglaise and madeleines.
Taking our taste buds further north, the Central Italy menu shared the delights of olives all’ Ascolana and we loved them. Lloyd was right …. So addictive! Crostini misti with zucchini & mint or chicken liver & Chianti or chard (silver beet again from Tezza’s garden) & chilli or white bean & rosemary all sounded so simple, but offered enormous tastes. We all managed to get our hands covered in flour making gnocchi, which was served with lamb ragù and pecorino. Lloyd stated many times “Good food takes time” and the slow and long cooked ragù sauce was definitely testimony to that!!!
Bistro classics simply blew us away with pork belly rillettes, again proving it takes time to create those tastes. Green beans, walnuts, radish and mustard salad, which became my favourite dish of all the classes ….(although there are a lot of very close seconds), was soooo …..I simply can’t find the right word!!! Baked rabbit, prunes, potatoes and mustard also changed opinions on what can be cooked at home, especially when followed by almond tart with raspberries.
Every recipe seemed to be even more delightful with the added ingredient of each accompanying story. Lloyd had so many travel tales and his “secrets of being a chef” were also generously revealed. A recommended reading list for each set of recipes and simple words of encouragement at the end of each class has ensured that Lloyd has made a lasting impression. Until we can promote his return visit to PCH Cooking School, remember what Lloyd kept saying to us over and over again, “You can do it, after all, you are just cooking/serving food!”
THANK YOU LLOYD for your inspiring classes.
The year has taken off with a colourful food explosion. Given that New Year’s Eve no longer has the same appeal that it had in my 20’s and 30’s ….that is, to go out raging is no longer the preferred mode of celebration…..this year’s approach was the same as most other NYEs in the last decade. Quiet evening, nice dinner,a few drinks and to be with those I really want to be with. This of course means that number one choice of company is Tezza! For a number of years now NYE has involved an evening with some of the nearest and dearest down on the Mornington Peninsula, a few drinks, a delicious dinner and as soon as the obligatory walk to the yacht club to see the fireworks has been done, we can all legitimately say good night!!
This year though, NYE had an added incentive for celebrations. Andrew and Andrew (Ike) celebrated their 20th anniversary. So the usual suspects, including, R & R, P & T and Tezza and I decided to have a dinner party for them to mark the significance of the occasion. I was feeling very inspired after Jane Webster’s fabulous “French Table” classes and planned a meal that allowed me to practice some of her recipes. The evening kicked off with savouries (yes I cooked and ate anchovies again!) with sparkling wine, followed with Peter serving a fantastic prawn salad for entrée. The salt, fennel and bay leaf rubbed pork fillets with PCH home grown cauliflower were yummy. Honey panna cotta with stewed cherries using my own vanilla bean recipe provided a pleasing dessert and Ruthie put together a stunning cheese platter, as she so often does.
But if I can just bring this back to the sensational finale……..my first attempt at cake decorating. A 20th anniversary 3 tier cake with a touch of colour!
It exploded with vibrant visual impact when each layer was cut as it showed the rainbow cake inside…...Yes it was very rough looking compared to the efforts of my clever friends who are extremely good at cake decorating, but I like to think the rustic charm covered the many faults.
Featuring the "PCH country cook and gardener"
Una goccia di Toscana...
Une touché de Provence...
a taste of Gippsland