I was in big trouble with Susan with LCA being on the week of Australia day. Australia day is Susans birthday, and also our wedding anniversary! To make up for it we’ve gone to Kangaroo Valley for a few days to enjoy some walks and a bit of cooking – one of our favourite pastimes.
Today we had a wonderful afternoon cooking (and then eating!) Italian desserts. We were at the Flavours of the Valley cooking school in Kangaroo valley. The description of the “Afternoon Delights” class on the website is quite understated, so we were expecting to perhaps make a coffee and an Italian cake, but instead what we got was a wonderful 2 hour tour of Italian dessert making. We made 4 Italian sweets in 2 hours, which was very intense but quite fantastic.
We started off by making some sweet pasta dough, which after it had rested for a while we later made into Latuigi (Crostoli), a type of sweet fried pasta with icing sugar. We were surprised at how easy it was to roll out and cut the pasta into the intricate twirls that make up the Latuigi.
Espresso fudge cakes and lemon curd cakes
Next Susan and I each started on a cake. I made the espresso fudge cakes with chocolate ganache. I rarely make desserts – Susan normally does those, so making fudge cakes was quite a change for me. Despite my inexperience they turned out very well, especially when eaten straight from the oven!
Susan loves anything with lemon in it, so she chose the lemon curd cakes with meringue topping. She snuck some extra lemon into the recipe, as she always thinks one can never have too much lemon in a dessert. The lemon curd was fantastic, and the meringue was just nicely toasted in the oven to finish them off.
After that came the chocolate pasta! We made chocolate ravioli with raspberry filling, covered with white chocolate sauce and all set on a raspberry mouse base, and with some fresh raspberries on top. It was an absolutely fantastic dessert, and surprisingly simple to make.
If you want to learn a bit of Italian cooking in a bush setting then Susan and I can definately recommend Flavours of the Valley. The hosts (Toni and Robert) are very friendly and really passionate about Italian cooking. It is a great bush setting, with wonderful scenery.
We’re going back tomorrow for the main course – two types of gnocchi, polenta and creamy sauces. Yum!