Despite having been quite active on Twitter and having been blogging (and blagging) for a year or so now, I had not yet had a chance to try out a cooking club. It was with delight then that I accepted London Foodie’s invitation to join in the ‘Nduja Cooking Club on October 23rd.
‘Ndjua seems to be the latest craze here in London, with bloggers, foodies, chefs and the likes raving about it and using it for really posh recipes. It amazes me because ‘Nduja (and its fishy sister ‘Sardella’) have been on my family table since I was a kid and it has never been a favourite of mine. Yet with its recent British discovery and my cooking skills somehow improved since my teens, it has been very interesting for me to try in some pasta sauces, with good results.
I was therefore very excited to be taking part in a cooking club where most of the menu was based around ‘Nduja, and in this instance, the main ingredients itself was kindly provided by the lovely people from unearthed.
We arrived at London Foodie’s beautiful home (jealous, moi?) and enjoyed a few glasses of Prosecco and unearthed charcuterie before the main meal. It was really great to meet my fellow ‘Nduja chefs, and I am sure I will see everyone again at supper clubs and events. It was also great to find out more about unearthed as well and find out how they discover products and how they launch them in the UK. Both Carrie and Delilah were a lot of fun, which made the whole experience very personal so well done unearthed and thank you for providing such good stuff.
The first course were ‘Nduja Palmiers made by May (SlowFoodKitchen) which unfortunately I missed as I was busy preparing my own course, Linguine with cherry tomatoes and ‘Nduja. I had prepped at home, using fresh Italian vine tomatoes (from Solsice at Greensmith), Marfuga olive oil, fresh basil and a couple of crushed cloves of garlic, apart from the unearthed ‘Nduja of course. I finished off the dish when it was time to serve, using De Cecco linguine and freshly grated parmesan and pecorino and fresh basil leaves.
I actually thought the recipe worked very well, with the ‘Nduja not being too overpowering – my criticism of my own dish was that I should have made more sauce (I did think we would be less than we actually were for some reason) so that when served, it was a little dry but it’s definitely a dish I am going to repeat.
Cod and beans
After linguine, we enjoyed what for me was the best dish of all – pan fried cod on a bed of flat beans with lardons and ‘Nduja and a side of samphire. This was a recipe Luiz has submitted for the unearthed ‘Nduja challenge and I am surprised it did not win top prize. The flavours were phenomenal, the lightly friend cod, the lemon sauce, the herbs and the red hot, warming beans. It was really fantastic, so well done Luiz and Rosana (Hot&Chili – read her post here) who prepared the dish together.
Beans to the plate, camera at hand!
This was followed by another ‘Nduja challenge recipe, the actual winner (by Eat Like a Girl), and it was ‘Nduja poussin with roast potatoes and Greek salad. It was very nice, but maybe (in my humble opinion) the poussin is too light a bird to sustain the warm ‘Nduja. Top marks to the roast potatoes and the wonderfully chopped Greek salad (by Delilah and Sian (domestic sluttery)).
Finally we all loved Cassey’s (A girl has to eat) lemon posset which was a perfect fresh complement after a spicy lunch.
By now it was gone 5pm – the day went quickly as we chatted about food, blogs, chefs, TOWIE, Downton Abbey and interns that become marriage materials.
Thank you Luiz for inviting me to such a fun event, looking forward to seeing more of everyone!