Octopus, Burrata and Tiramisu with Florence Knight
Burrata: Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese, made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream, giving it an unusual, soft texture. It is also defined by some sources as an outer shell of mozzarella filled with butter or a mixture of butter and sugar. It is usually served fresh, at room temperature. The name “burrata” means “buttered” in Italian. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burrata)
Octopus: The octopus (pron.: /ˈɒktəpʊs/; plural: octopuses, octopi, or octopodes) is a cephalopod mollusc of the order Octopoda. Octopuses have two eyes and four pairs of arms and, like other cephalopods, they are bilaterally symmetric. An octopus has a hard beak, with its mouth at the centre point of the arms. An octopus trails its eight arms behind it as it swims. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octopus)
Tiramisu: Tiramisu ([tiɾamiˈsu], Italian spelling: Tiramisù; lit. “pick me up” or “lift me up”) is an Italian dessert. It is made of ladyfinger’s (Italian: Savoiardi) dipped in coffee, layered with a whipped mixture of egg yolks and mascarpone cheese, and flavoured with Marsala wine and cocoa. The recipe has been adapted into many varieties of puddings, cakes and other desserts. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiramisu)
Florence Knight: Chef: Beautiful former fashion student who found her niche on a Leith’s food and wine course. The talented chef proved herself to boss Russell Norman when he challenged her to make a version of salted cod the Venetian way. She did and now is about to head up his Polpetto restaurant in its new location, having just secured a two-book deal.
Cooking Masterclass: Assorted food bloggers of different ages and gender, thrown together to learn new cooking techniques, as well as preparing, cooking and wrestling with an octopus (see above), and imbibe several tots of dark rum whilst making (by hand) a small but boozy tiramisu (also see above) with the beautiful and talented (and very patient) Florence Knight. Not required to load the dishwasher, but ample opportunity to admire and discuss the benefits of using FINISH quantum dishwasher tablets. I am particularly taken with the latest “flavour” Apple and Lime, and having been sent some to sample, I can report that they
taste smell pretty good and got all my underwear china, glasses and casserole pots sparkling clean.
Burrata with Blood Orange and a Fresh Herb infused Olive Oil
Pan-Fried Octopus with Chilli, Fresh Herbs and New Potatoes
Polpette (meatballs) with a slow cooked Tomato Sauce
My Day with an Octopus, Florence Knight and Finish:
Two weeks ago I was invited to attend a cooking masterclass on behalf of Finish; the class was held in a beautiful Georgian house in the leafy suburbs of London and our chef tutor for the day, was Florence Knight. I was thrilled to be able to catch up with some good (blogger) friends, as well as meet lots of new people, whose blogs I follow and read. Breakfast of French pastries, fresh fruit and assorted beverages was laid out for us on arrival and the atmosphere was bubbly and friendly. Florence was an excellent tutor and was very generous with her time after the masterclass was over, answering lots of questions and queries that I had and her passion for simple, well cooked food using the best ingredients was always evident. We, the gathered company of food bloggers, were invited to cook along with Florence, and that we all did with gusto!
The food was excellent, but then I am a lover of fresh herbs, big flavours, seafood and cheese. Florence is very clever at pairing ingredients, her Burrata with Blood Oranges and a Herb infused Oil was a good example of her intuitive flavour blendings. She has her own ideas about cooking, as do I, and I have to admit to not agreeing with her on a couple of points. Florence is not a lover of frozen food or the freezer, as a person who lives in a very rural area (both in SW France and N Yorkshire) shopping daily for fresh ingredients is not a luxury I can afford, and the freezer is my culinary lifeline. I also rely on my freezer to preserve the fruits of my labour from the garden, so I can enjoy mixed currants and green beans in the midst of winter. Florence also advocates hand beating the eggs that made the tiramisu we made on the day; again, if I have time (??!!??) I would love to spend half an hour beating my eggs, but the reality is I will use my Kenwood or an electric hand mixer. But, I DO understand her reasoning behind these ideas, they just wont work for me.
The day was fun and instructional, and I did learn lots of tips from Florence, as well as discover a new favourite ingredient, Burrata. With thanks to all the staff at Finish for organising the day, and also to Florence for her time and expertise; although I took lots of photos, I would like to thank Charlotte, who was the official photographer on the day, her images are shared here in this post. I did not have to be persuaded to like the Finish Quantum Power Gel tablets I was sent to sample, as I already use them in the B and B (in France), as well as in my home in the UK; they are the best for sparkling dishes, in my opinion, and I was pleased to see a nice big packet in my “goodie bag” that I took home! I hope you have enjoyed my “virtual masterclass”, and watch out for Florence’s book that is out this summer, her recipes and intuitive blend of ingredients was inspirational. Karen
All photography in this post, apart from the first photo of the Burrata recipe, is courtesy of CHARLOTTE TOLHURST.
DISCLOSURE: I was paid a fee for attending the masterclass, and my transport was also paid for by Finish. I was also provided with some Finish Quantum Power Gel tablets to sample and test before the event, as well as being given some more to take away with me at the end of the event. I was not asked to write this post and all views expressed in this post are my own. Karen S Burns-Booth