Hey everyone! As some of you may have seen I previously wrote a blog for Italian chef Natalina Bambino from Natalinas kitchen – well I couldn’t resist another day of Italian cooking so I am back reviewing Natalinas “Cosy and casual” online class today (check the first blog on “Simple and Elegant” cooking if you missed it!)
Residing in Canada and hailing from Southern Italy Natalina aims to share her passion for wholesome, authentic Italian cooking and culture in a variety of ways. Natalina has a gorgeous cookbook called “bringing homemade back” (Yes, you need it.) along with Italian food and wine tours, in-person cooking classes, and most recently her new online cooking school. Both practical and affordable the online cooking course is a win for me.
I live and work as a chef on a yacht in the Caribbean so I’m a big advocate for Natalinas’ online cooking courses. Firstly, with Natalinas’ ethos revolving around authenticity I know these are recipes that I can trust, and considering I cook for people for living that’s REALLY important to me. Secondly, at any given time I’m MILES away from a cooking school and I can follow the class at a time that suits my schedule which is equally as important. The online courses are a dream to use – it literally couldn’t be easier, regardless of whether you are tech savvy or not (….I am below average on the tech savvy scale). They include a course outline, menu timing (crucial for entertaining!), ingredients list, clear and concise cooking instructions, as well as additional course resources. All you need to do is sign up and get cooking!
Can we just talk about how good your house (or in my case boat) smells when cooking Italian cuisine? SO GOOD. To kick off my cosy and casual cooking class I went to each clearly laid out ingredients list, so I could make sure I had everything I needed. First up I made the bruschetta, I’m a total bruschetta enthusiast and the parmigiana and oregano mix in this recipe just changed the bruschetta game for me. Next up was the Milanese minestrone with rice. This recipe come with an instructional video which is a fantastic touch for a “at home” cooking class! I liked being able to pause and play the video as I completed each step, and the video also explains some of the cooking terms in subtitles so if you aren’t familiar with them you can really get a good understanding of them as you go. As Natalina suggested that it was good to freeze (without the rice) I decided to double up the recipe and freeze half. Now I have a healthy hearty delicious meal prepped and ready to enjoy later!
The second course meal was a chicken parmigiana with the option of the bonus recipe – eggplant parmigiana! I chose to try the eggplant version as I love trying new ways to get my veggies in. Well I was disappointed – I had never fried the eggplant prior to placing in the dish and this was a clever and tasty way to do it. This recipe also included a tomato basil sauce recipe for the eggplant but to be honest, the quality of tomatoes in the Caribbean is usually not great so I instead used Natalinas guide to canned tomatoes to use as my sauce base. I made the rapini as a side for my eggplant parmigiana, swapping the rapini for spinach as Natalina suggests in the included instructional video. It was so simply and flavourful, something I will definitely make again and again! Finally, the affogato! I was so surprised with just 3 ingredients how great this tastes but also, it is creamy coffee with a touch of liqueur……how could it not be great! My course favourites had to be the eggplant parmigiana and the affogato. Whilst affogato is so straightforward it just hits the spot each time and without leaving you feeling like you’ve over indulged.