Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Alce Nero Cooking Workshop (9 Nov 2013)

Last Saturday, I had the honour to be invited for the Alce Nero Cooking Workshop at the Food Playground with a 12 other bloggers! Even though I did not have much understanding nor impression of Alce Nero before the event, I got to learn much more through this event. 

All dolled up for the event! 

We gathered at Food Playground located near Tanjong Pagar MRT. Located on level 2 of an old school shophouse, the Food Playground is a small cosy cooking school that allows for food lovers to gather and learn how to cook! The kitchen it well equipped with bright cheery coloured pots, pans and what nots, the kind that I like! (: 12 of us were split into groups of 4 to work on 2 dishes.

They had really lovely orange aprons! A colour I'm considering for my kitchen and also the kitchen-aid I'm waiting to get for my new place! We even got to customise our chef's hats... having hats on ensures that cleanliness is maintained in the kitchen! 

Alce Nero started about 30 years ago by two young Italian farmers with the aim of  producing wholesome foods while respecting the environment. If you know me, you'd know that Organic food is like a good to have, but not a must to me due to the costly price tag that comes along with it. But having realised that Alce Nero's products are organic and are really affordable (prices are almost as competitive as other pasta brands off the rack), it made me quite happy XD 

To begin with, I must say that I HATE spaghetti. Penne, Fusilli, Linguine etc I love, but I hate spaghetti. There's just something about how common it is and it's rod-like shape that I dislike. I'm just odd. We were to cook a dish of fusion Laksa Pesto Pasta for the cook-off and I was sceptical at first.. it was only when I ate it at the end of the event did I realise that I actually I liked it! It's not just the flavour from the pesto etc but this brand of spaghetti actually made me happy! It's one of the rare occasions that I actually took Spaghetti and liked it! I think I have found a brand of spaghetti that I would actually eat! (:

Anyway, we learned how to cook a Laksa Pesto Pasta as well as bake 2 types of pizza using a method of proofing a quick dough! I am totally in love with this method of proofing/working with the dough as it means that I get to eat almost traditional Italian pizzas in the comfort of my home with lesser time needed for the dough! I can't wait to try this method at home... After all, I love to feed people and the freebies Alce Nero has blessed me with will allow me to feed my family and loved ones for quite a while! 

Enough of my rambling, let me show you some snapshots of what we did that very morning (:

Learning how to prepare the pizza dough with dry yeast.

This method of pizza dough preparation is unique and it prevents us from over working the dough... I can't wait to share this method with you soon! My brain is bursting with the possible flavours of pizzas I can do. Also, I learned that I am actually quite comfortable with working the dough with my hands. Odd but true. Then again, I love to do hand-folding of cake batter using my hand! Not much of a wonder why I actually like using my hands for this dough!

After the demo, we were sent to our stations to work on our dishes. See what I mean? So beautifully coloured!!! (: 

Here's me and my team that day! (: I think I looked drunken that morning.. why was I so pink!? HAHAH! 

Anyway, we had a Q&A contest to see which team gets to pick their pizza ingredients first. We weren't as "kiasu" as other teams so we got the last pick. The key ingredient we had was canned tuna in water as compared to sardines etc that the other 2 groups had. However, that was just the tray my team mates and I were eyeing! We were secretly happy! XD

Here's me working the pizza dough!

My team mates busy at work...

The pesto sauce we cooked up! (: This smelled so good. And to think I HATE pesto that we take in restaurants. 

Our tray of goodies. Oh yes, see that bowl of red wrinkly thing in a bowl? That's the sun-dried tomatoes that Alec Nero carries.. Those babies tasted so good in the pizza we made.. I have wicked plans for it to be part of my upcoming Focaccia recipe... (: 

Co-cooking can be really fun! It's like tapping on the expertise of those involved.. With that, my team and I present these three dishes! 
Laksa Pesto Pasta.

Mushroom & capsicum tomato pizza as well as a Tuna Pesto pizza! Love how rustic looking these pizzas are!! Looking at these photos again makes me salivate!!! 

Here's us with our beautiful dishes! (: We had a great feast after that! 

My team and I ended up winning the cook off with our pizza! We were blessed with a hamper each on top of the generous goody bag filled with goodies that Alce Nero had already blessed us with! 
Here's all the goodies excluding a bag of spaghetti and tomato paste that I've given to Sharron as well as one bottle of tomato paste that I broke when I fell down later that evening. I'm a truly blessed girl! Can't wait to cook with these awesome ingredients! 

After the event, I headed off to The Rice Table with my heavy gifts to meet Sharron for lunch! I'm truly thankful for her cake which I treat like a storage space so often.. I chucked the heavy items in her car and we went shopping!! 

I was kinda unwell later that evening so I headed to Sharron's to laze and rest. I fell down on my way up to her place (I've not fallen down for years!!) but I'm really glad that it was a fruitful day. 

Alce Nero has made me a very happy girl and a very happy girl I am! (: 

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