Learn How to Cook Like an Italian at Enrica Rocca Notting Hill


Have you ever wanted to recreate the tasty home cooking that you’ve experienced in Italian restaurants? Well now you can learn how to cook like an Italian thanks to Enrica Rocca Cooking School Notting Hill. Sisters Claire and Charlotte, who run the London branch of Enrica Rocca, are passionate about Italian cuisine. This flair has been passed down by their Mother, Enrica, who originally set up the cookery school. She now runs a renowned cookery school in Venice and Cape Town and also caters for private dining events. Her Venice on a Plate book is a beautiful tome featuring local recipes and cookery tips served on typical Venetian glassware.

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I’ve been to a few cookery schools before but never been shopping for ingredients with the hosts. It’s one of the things that really sets this place apart. We started off at 10 am at Ladbroke Grove where we met Charlotte, Claire and the rest of the group. Classes are kept to a maximum of 7 people, making for a warm and friendly ambiance in which to learn how to cook like an Italian. We struck lucky with a charming group of would-be chefs. Notting Hill has some fantastic independent food stores if you know where to look, which we didn’t until now. We headed first to a local fishmonger where Charlotte and Claire gave us some pointers on how to identify fresh fish, such as lifting the gills to check that they’re a dark red colour. Next we popped into a fantastic butchers, a bakery and a deli to stock up on fresh produce. They asked us what our preferences were for some of the dishes and all dietary requirements can be catered for.

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Of course, the star of the area is Portobello Road market. It’s a great source for fresh fruit and vegetables. I’d actually booked an outdoor screening of Notting Hill at Opera Holland Park as a surprise for Paul a few days later. The market features quite prominently in the film, with Hugh Grant walking through it, looking depressed as he tries unsuccessfully to get over Julia Robert’s character ;-).

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With our ingredients assembled, we walked the short distance to the cookery school. The tone was set by this retro sign – Claire and Charlotte aim to make cooking fun. They’re a great double act and I wouldn’t be surprised if a TV cookery show beckons one day.

i_cook_with_wine_sometimesThey uncorked a bottle of their very own Prosecco, a Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin wine of the highest quality. The grapes are harvested by hand and the delicate taste has notes of ripe fruit, almond and vanilla. It’s available to purchase online and quite a bargain at 72 euros for a case of 6 bottles.

enrica-rocca-cookery-school_reviewOne thing that we appreciated about Claire and Charlotte is that they are very generous, not only with their wine but also with the quantity of food. In addition to the dishes that we would prepare, they rustled up some tasty appetizers. Charlotte’s tip for bruschetta is not to chop the tomato into small pieces as it tends to fall off the bread when you’re trying to eat it. Just halve cherry tomatoes and squash them onto the bread and they should stay on with no problem!

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I’ve felt quite hungry at other cookery classes as you often get no food until everything is cooked so it was a welcome change to have something to keep us going whilst we learnt how to cook like an Italian. Another difference with many classes is that you are each given different tasks. When I’ve done the whole recipe, I’ve sometimes struggled to keep up with the pros but here you work at your own pace without holding anyone up.

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Parma ham and melon is a classic that never goes out of fashion.

parma_ham_melonWe started by preparing a fresh tuna tartar with cherry tomatoes, oregano, capers and spring onion. I liked the simplicity of this dish, as you just chop the tuna finely into cubes, add all the above ingredients and a splash of lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.

notting_hill_cookeryWe also made a chicken liver paté which is hands down the best one that I’ve eaten. First we finely sliced onion, celery and carrot before cooking them on a low heat and incorporating them into the chopped chicken liver mix. A dash of port, some butter, olive oil and double cream added to the silky flavour.

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Next up was our most photogenic dish, a fennel and blood orange salad with Taggiasca Italian olives. Again, this was a doddle to prepare, so perfect for weekend chefs like me!

In contrast, I found the salt and pepper stuffed squid with ricotta, thyme and citrus zest a bit more fiddly to prepare. That’s probably because I was rubbish at stuffing the squid with the ricotta mix. The stuffing mix itself was really quick to do and would make a nice starter in its own right.

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The end result was superb, with none of the chewiness that you sometimes get with squid. 

enrica_rocca_coursePerhaps my favourite dish of all was the zucchini and smoked bacon frittata. The bacon gave it a unique taste and I’d definitely make this at home.

enrica_rocca_frittataI learnt a useful tip when preparing asparagus with a parmesan and truffle oil. Rather than discarding the end of the asparagus, as I had been doing, you can simply use a vegetable parer to remove the outer tough parts at the base and it will be as good as the top!

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Another Italian classic is good old meatballs and we learnt how to make some really flavorful ones. The secret is to use half beef and half pork mince and a high quality Passatta. After prepping the ingredients, you roll the mince mixture into balls using your hands…

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before adding the passatta and gently cooking.

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Paul is a bit of a dab hand at making saffron risotto with his Father living in Swiss Italy, so it was interesting to see how this one compared. It certainly didn’t disappoint, and I’d have eaten seconds if we weren’t feeling rather full by now!

saffron_risotto_recipeOur final main course was oven-­baked seabass with sliced potato, cherry tomatoes and spring onion. When the fish slides off the bone, that’s a good indicator that it’s completely cooked.

cookery_course_notting_hillThe finale to our fabulous cookery day learning how to cook like an Italian was a homemade tiramisu. This heavenly combination of eggs, sugar, mascarpone, lady finger biscuits and strong coffee is topped with cocoa powder and ready to devour!

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And here are some of the dishes that we learnt how to cook like an Italian, with a little help from Charlotte and Claire. After our lesson we were sent not only all the recipes, but also some Italian cookery tips and more recipes devised by Enrica Rocca herself so that we really know how to cook like an Italian. We’re heading to Venice in October so we’re going to put the Venetian restaurant recommendations on their website to good use! I highly recommend Enrica Rocca Cooking School – Claire and Charlotte have succeeded in demystifying Italian cuisine and I can’t wait to recreate those delicious recipes. You’ll see from the rave reviews on TripAdvisor that I’m not the only one. They’ve also just launched a weekend brunch with unlimited Prosecco that is proving hugely popular. Venice on a plate – what more could we ask for?

Enrica Rocca Cooking School – London, Cape Town and Venice

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  • This sounds fantastic and Claire and Charlotte sound like fantastic hosts and cooks. I’m looking forward to reading your Venice adventures!

  • Oh wow the food looks delicious! Looks like a fabulous way to learn more cooking skills!

    • Yes we learnt so much and not just cooking skills, all about what type of ingredient to buy and which shops to go to

  • God knows I need a cooking class haha my boyfriend keeps complaining about my poor cooking skills 😛

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  • I have always wanted to go to a cooking class! Looks amazing!

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  • Ina

    Wow, your images are lovely! Do leave me an email at ina.i1123@icloud.com if you want to do a collab together 🙂

    Love, Ina – http://theradiantcherie.com/

  • This sounds like such a fun thing to do with a bunch of girlfriends or with your spouse if he/she enjoys cooking! never thought of attending a cooking class before but it sure sounds lots of fun.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

    • Paul was in his element, he loves cooking! It was so much fun, we were lucky to have a great group

  • That tuna tartar looks so delicious! And I love asparagus so I’m drooling a little bit over your side. Sounds like such a fun class!

    http://thecourtneydiaries.com

    • The addition of truffle oil made the asparagus so tasty, plus I’ve learnt how to use all the asparagus, not just the tips

  • Yummy! Truth is that I’m very tempted to cook when I see the fresh ingredients on the European markets. The secret of any cooking is the quality and freshness of the produce you use. I never tried tuna tartar, but it surely looks delicious. The Prosecco makes me drool!

  • Paola

    Really interesting, Italian cuisine is the best!!!
    Kisses, Paola.
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  • Kelly M

    Wow this is quite the post! I have missed your blog and it seems that it has developed quite beautifully! I took a cooking class once but it pails in comparison to this one.. 😉

    XOXO
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  • Ellie Adams

    This is so exciting for me being in Italy right now and absolutely falling in love with their food. Such a good find!

    Elle
    http://www.theellenextdoor.com
    xx

    • Ooh I didn’t realize you were in Italy right now, hope you’re having an amazing time

  • Wow this looks like such an amazing class! It all looks so delicious! Gemma x

  • I’m about to have Italian for lunch today! Clearly, Italian food is the best 🙂 Also great to see from your cooking experience that it doesn’t have to involve pasta or pizza.

    • That’s very true, Italian cooking is a lot more varied than just pizza or pasta, especially in Venice where they eat lots of fish

  • Coco Cami

    Wow, everything looks so delicious. What an incredible experience, thanks for sharing!

    Camille xo

    http://www.cococami.blogspot.co.uk

  • What a great experience! The food looks beyond tasty, especially the tiramisu (your blog is opening my eyes to just how much of a sweet tooth I have, haha). Their weekend brunch with unlimited Prosecco sounds fabulous, I’m not surprised it’s popular!

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice x

  • Omg yummy! I want that cook book
    xo
    http://www.laurajaneatelier.com

  • I am so excited about this cooking school! Sometimes there is nothing better than home cooked food and if it’s Italian food then even better. That zucchini and smoked bacon frittata looks incredible! Great to know about the weekend brunch deal too!

    • I’d happily go to one of their Prosecco brunches, especially if they’re serving up the frittata!

  • I am Italian and for me the cook is part of my culture…I am very couriuos to know How is this Cooking school
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  • An amazing class! It looks fun and it all looks delicious! The risotto looks out of this world good

    http://Leftbankgirl.blogspot.com

  • Italian cuisine is one of my favourites! How amazing to learn from the professionals! This looks like so much fun from start to finish. Always wanted to learn how to make my own chicken liver pate and that tiramisu looks so delicious! Looking forward to attending one of their classes in September!

    • You’ll have such an amazing time, Miriam! Looking forward to seeing what dishes you rustle up

  • I LOVE Italian food, but then again, who doesn’t, right?! It’s SO good and the food you’ve shared here is a perfect example. This look like such a fun experience, you learn to cook delicious food and enjoy the experience and learning environment! Thanks so much for sharing and I hope you have the most amazing week ahead!

    XO,

    Jalisa
    http://www.thestylecontour.com

    • Italian food is definitely one of my favourites and the sisters have really captured the simplicity and stye of it. Have a great week too, Jalisa

  • I’m screaaaaaammmmmmmmiiiinnnggggg inside from how delicious this all look!!! I love cooking, especially the Italian cuisine but this, this is over the top.

    http://www.fashionparadoxes.com/

  • Agness

    I’m a big fan of Italian food and I even tried to cook some nice pasta when I was visiting Rome last time. I like their eating habits of eating small breakfast (croissant and a coffee) and binge on food in the evening :D.

  • That looks like a great meal. I can feel the calories. I have a Sicilian exchange student out my house and she has created some marvellous dishes.

  • Oh my, everything looks so delicious. Such an incredible experience, thanks for sharing!

    Ann-Marie | http://facetocurls.com

  • Lucy

    This is my idea of heaven, I love Italian food and more than that cooking. So this combines my two loves. The meatballs looks delicious Lucy x