A New Plated Stories Food photography and Food Writing Workshop and Farinata with Pancetta

Plated Stories The Workshop October 2014-2

I would like to thank you all for your comments on my last post, you are an encouraging bunch but it doesn’t seem to help does it? I have had this recipe in draft for ages but I forget it all the time, all the time. On the other hand today is a perfect occasion to share it with you as I also would like to announce our next Plated Stories Workshop which will take place 3-5 October in a grand villa, Il Salicone, down in the valley below my house. A few years ago we did Plate To Page workshop there and since both Jamie and I love that place, we thought it would be ideal to do a Plated Stories workshop there as well! This workshop will be a 2,5 day workshop, we start at noon on Friday the 3rd and end Sunday evening on the 5th but we have the villa until Monday morning after breakfast so we can take it easy with the goodbyes! Jamie will lead the food writing sessions and I will do the food photography and styling ones. There will be a lot of hands on exercises and because I live so close, I will bring down a lot of my own props for you to play around with. Photography wise the workshop is aimed at those of you who already know the basics of photography but want to move a step further to get more creative and find inspiration. But there will not only be writing and shooting, we are really happy to collaborate with Giulia Scarpaleggia who will lead a cooking class where you will learn to cook genuine Tuscan dishes on Saturday afternoon. Giulia has already published two cookbooks and is presently working away on her third,  maybe you already know her, she is the Juls behind the very popular food blogg Juls’ Kitchen. So as you you can see it will be a weekend of full food and in all senses and for all the senses!
For €875 (euro) you get:
– 2,5 days of food photography and styling and food writing sessions and hands-on exercises.
– 3 nights accommodation, shared rooms
– 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
– snacks and refreshments
– Private cooking class with Giulia Scarpaleggia

What are you waiting for? Click here for more details and to register!

Chickpea flour and pancetta

Farinata is one of the simplest things you can make, all you need is chickpea flour, water, salt and extra-virgin olive oil and an oven that works. And add to that an infinite array of toppings and flavors that you can vary it with, the fact that it is perfect for people with dietary restriction (no gluten, no wheat, no milk and so on) and, at least in my case, a great way to make your children eat chickpeas and liking it too! Farinata is there to please every one, be it vegetarian, vegan or meat eater, I have never met anyone who doesn’t like it and I often make it as an appetizer when we have guests for lunch or dinner, it is perfect to nibble on over a drink or a glass of wine while you wait for the inevitable latecomer.

Farinata has its origin in Liguria, where it is a typical street food with roots well back in the 13th-14th century and it is still going strong. In the original recipe you use the ingredients I mention above and add black pepper to that but I have made versions with chili pepper, with finely chopped onion or thinly sliced zucchini on top, all very good but maybe the best is this variant with pancetta, the salty pancetta and the nutty chickpea flour is a great combination. You can obviously use bacon instead of pancetta as long as it is a good quality one.

serves 2 hungry and 4 nibblers (just cut it into smaller pieces.)

250 g/ 9 oz chickpea flour
450 ml/2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
3-4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4-5 this rashers of pancetta or bacon

Sift the chickpea flour and salt into a bowl and then add water while stirring all the time, it should be a bit thicker than a pancake batter. Leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Cut the bacon into smaller pieces.

Grease an oven-proof form, I use a 24×30 cm/10×13 in rectangular form, with half of the olive oil. Pour the batter into the form, distribute the pancetta pieces evenly over the surface and finish with drizzling the rest of the olive oil over.

Bake the farinata in a pre-heated oven (200°C/390°F) for 20 minutes or until it is golden and the pancetta is crispy.

Farinata With Pancetta