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Fab Night of Sicilian Fun at La Cucina Di Sandra

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La Cucina Di Sandra is a compelling experience for any Melbourne foodie. The World Loves Melbourne and a few top bloggers enjoyed a fun bespoke informative evening at Sandra's Sicily Cooking Class.

La Cucina Di Sandra is a unique food experience in Melbourne. Many that visit this cooking school make that comment. You won't see the awkward stiffness of some cooking schools. Sandra engages you in her slice of Tuscany in Richmond as soon as you walk in. Gather around her well appointed kitchen on a stool as Sandra takes you on a journey to one of the regions of Italy.

Sandra is engaging and a character; part of the attraction of the cooking class. She's also a mighty fine cook with years of training and experience; and her dishes resonate with authenticity. Someone at our table remarks how they experienced a Rabbit pasta dish in a top Melbourne restaurant but felt Sandra's rendition in one of her classes was better.

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Sandra impresses with this Sicilian Gazpacho; we're used to Spanish gazpacho but the Italian version seems simpler and thankfully easy to make. Good news for summer. Guests remarked that they could see themselves making batches of this in summer. 

The talking point was the tomato flavour preserved with hit of olives and welcome crunch of toasted almonds; very Sicilian.

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By now conviviality was in overdrive. This is part of the attraction; of being in a class that also doubles as a dinner party. In fact you can just book for a dinner party or Italian long lunch. For corporates, La Cucina Di Sandra is a great option for your team "get together" or function.

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Sandra has a reputation for several signature dishes including the Sardine Flan. In representing Sicily this is a common Sicilian dish of quality but also not expensive to make. You will need to clean and butterfly the sardines but the preparation is not too complex and the cooking is only for about 15 minutes.

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The Plus Ones, who have enjoyed a heady rise to expand globally, engaged Sandra with their knowledge of food and all things Italian. Another prominent blogger Dhanya from The Spice Adventuress runs a recipe style blog of the highest quality; and was keen to share accessible recipes with her large following.

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It's about gathering around Sandra as she cooks and demonstrates then heading over to the candle lit dinner table to imbibe each course. We could get used to this.

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Pesto and pasta as a combination speak of Sicily and Sandra cooked up a stunning main dish of Pasta with Sicilian pesto. If peeling the tomatoes seems daunting Sandra allayed our fears with the blanching process in hot water. Of course you also need to remove the seeds. And then it's a case of adding the rest of the elements in a food processor for the pesto. Once again toasted almonds were added for delightful crunch.

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Sandra is passionate about pasta and gives useful and entertaining food shopping tips along the way. No excuses for poor or average pasta.

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After all this Sandra had a showstopper up her sleeve; the Sicilian cassata served in individual glasses. Sponge soaked in Grand Marnier captured our imagination from the "get go"; with the layers of sponge and ricotta infused with dark chocolate hitting the high notes. Add to this homemade apricot marmalade and Sicilian candied fruit, and you have a first class decadent dessert. It was as if the quinoa revolution went out the window with this gorgeous Sicilian dessert lighting up the imagination and the tastebuds.

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The whole experience is like being invited into a dear friend's home. Sandra brings skill, character and charm to the table (and kitchen) with cameos from husband Alf (who works in the wine industry).  

Experience a cooking class like no other and book your group at La Cucina Di Sandra