Terresa Murphy describes her ‘Personalized Organic Vegetarian Cooking Classes’ at La Cucina di Terresa in Paris.
I love to wake up in the morning and head off to an open-air market when I’m having friends for dinner. I walk among the stalls heaving with fresh, colourful produce, drawing inspiration for the dishes I’ll prepare. On a warm September morning, for example, plump aubergine and Smyrna figs speak to me in a chorus……that evening I serve roasted aubergine risotto topped with baked figs, a drizzle of their syrupy juice and a sprinkle of roasted walnuts.
More often than not the meals I conjure up for friends are new attempts at pairing the season’s flavours, textures and colours, sometimes with surprising results. I record them in a notebook and next time around I work on what needs to be adjusted to make the dish sing.
As I shell peas, peel squash, seed tomatoes, slice fennel or rinse leeks I think of how to combine and prepare them in the simplest way, coaxing out their subtle savour with a bit of shallot, a pinch of lemon zest, a splash of white wine, a sprinkle of fresh thyme or a drizzle of honey – I tend to undress vegetables as opposed to dressing them up.
I use local organic eggs, organic butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Sardo Pecorino, artisan goat cheese, earthy organic extra-virgin olive oil, beans of every sort, rice, polenta, quinoa, green lentils, chickpeas, seeds and nuts. They’re all faithful companions.
I’d love to share with you what I have discovered across the years and teach you dishes to grace your table and delight your family and friends. If you’re looking for a homespun hands-on cooking class in Paris, offering vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free dishes that celebrate seasonal, local, organic fruits and vegetables, inspired by the exuberant imaginative rustic cuisine of Italy, come to La Cucina di Terresa.
We start with an early morning trip to the market to buy our produce – on Saturdays and Sundays we visit the wonderful Batignolles and Raspail 100% organic open-air markets. We return to my cosy, well-furnished kitchen in my artist-studio home to don aprons and cook a sumptuous feast of creative recipes. We then spread the table with our savoury fare and sit down to cherish it with biodynamic wines from the Loire Valley, and inspiring conversation.
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