What happened behind those closed doors? Why is so calm and quiet by the pool? This was the proverbial calm before the storm.
Behind those quaint blue wooden doors there were 4 – at times 5 – people in trouble to prepare in a day and half a picnic wedding dinner for forty French guests in an agriturismo in Maremma. Well, agriturismo is quite reductive, the Fattoria la Capitana is a grand country manor house with a garden terrace overlooking the sea. This is fairly accurate as a description, now!
This is one of the many reasons that have kept me away from my blog for almost 2 weeks, along with other cooking classes, a few family matters that luckily resolved for the better and a light tiredness: have I ever told you how much I love sleeping in spring with a light duvet and the rain pouring outside?
So I decided to show you – as a small reward for your patience! – what we did in that little kitchen, with the help of Claudia, of a dear friend and of my amazing British photographers, Sarka and P. Sarka took all the pictures you see today, I was the one with the arms completely plunged up to her elbow to stir the spicy chickpea salad, just to clarify why you do not see me here…
So here some pictures of the weekend: I’m the first to enjoy them because during that days I didn’t set foot outside that quaint blue door but to breath once in a while some sea fresh air. I should have pictured that, as the kitchen is my favourite place during parties since I was a teenager… could this be the main reason of my acute spinsterhood?
On each table we placed a fresh appetizer of vegetables with pinzimonio (the typical antipasto with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper) – I found that starting the meal with some fresh vegetables eases everyone’s conscience and predisposes them favorably to the upcoming courses! -, crisp radishes with toasted bread and cream cheese with herbs, kamut bread sticks with Tuscan ham and tomato bruschette.
The highlight of the wedding picnic were the club sandwiches, served with freshly made French fries (I followed Sigrid‘s recipe, and this not only impressed favourably the French guests, but gave also a nice touch of class and authenticity to the whole diner). Of course, the fries were served with ketchup and mayonnaise maison. With the club sandwiches I really enjoyed myself choosing the matches:
- chicken cooked in a vegetable broth with mayo, tomatoes, and crisp bacon
- roast beef, home-made herb butter, caramelized onions and blue cheese
- smoked salmon, horseradish sour cream, cucumbers and valerian salad
- extra virgin olive oil tuna, tomatoes, lettuce, roasted pepper sauce
Then came the warm courses, so welcomed at the end of the picnic because of the expected and feared downpour: a chickpeas soup made in a massive pot half of my bathtub, served in small bowls with shrimp sauté in butter, and my beloved pappa al pomodoro. The classic recipe, a velvety and warm tomato bread soup, was served to guests into the Bormioli Quattro stagioni jars. An idea to impress also your guests at home, isn’t it?
A sweet ending to the wedding, the desserts, served in small portions perfect for a picnic: pannacotta with strawberries and kiwi, strawberry and lemon muffins, chocolate cupcakes and mini tarts with lemon curd and Italian meringue, as a wedding cake. I’ve never kneaded so much pastry dough in one time!
All of this turned real and had a happy ending just thanks to Claudia and my dear friend L., who helped me in the kitchen and made the days fly away lightly, thanks to Sarka, who not only took these fabulous photos (soon you’ll find complete coverage of the event on her blog) but also did a lot in the kitchen, and thanks to Carolina, the wedding planner I worked with to make this happen.
In the end, what’s left of my weekend, besides the memories of a great fish dinner on the beach as a reward for our working day, is the feeling that you can turn a romantic idea into reality, that working with friends is way more fun than working alone and that if I ever will marry, I’ll have for sure a picnic in the garden, guests warned…