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Posts from the ‘Cook’ Category


Daygustation organise private tastings and dinners in the comfort of your home. For larger events we can suggest suitable venues or restaurants. The difference is that the starting point is the wine allowing us to create dishes that work in perfect harmony (most chefs work the other way around and the wine choice is often compromised). A popular format is the ‘Grand Dinner’: the evening starts with a Champagne Masterclass hosted by your personal sommelier Matt Day with four Champagnes matched to four canapés. The main course and dessert are then followed by a Wine and Cheese Masterclass where four artisan cheeses are each matched to the perfect wine. Each experience is tailored to your preferences and budget.


Tuscany with private chef and sommelier

Daygustation offer gourmet villa holidays for groups of 10-18 guests in the heart of Tuscany. Choose either the rustic charm of Pastina Alta (10-16 guests) situated in rolling hills amongst vines and olives near Arezzo or the magnificent 11th century  Villa Maddalena (10-18 guests) situated in the centre of Montisi, a medieval hilltop village. Chef Selina Maldini and wine expert/sommelier Matt Day will create a bespoke holiday to suit the requirements of your group. In addition to the fabulous food and drink we can put together a program of tastings, cookery masterclasses and visits to wineries if requested. With your input we will design the menus for your stay with each dish matched to the perfect wine. Each day we will cook you a three course lunch and dinner with all dishes and wines coming from the region of the day. This is the ultimate holiday for lovers of real food and wine. The price at Pastina Alta starts at £2000 per person for 7 nights (full board, wines, accommodation, but not transport or excursions) for a minimum of 10 guests. At Villa Maddalena prices start at £2750 per person for a minimum of 10 guests.


Where will I stay?

VillaPastina Alta Villas, Monte San Savino, Arezzo

The villas are beautiful, traditional and rustic (for luxury Maddalena is a better choice). There are two six person villas (three twins/doubles) and two four person villas (two twins/doubles). One of the larger villas is adapted for wheelchair use.  There is a lovely swimming pool (May-September), tennis court, table tennis, boules pitch and extensive gardens. The villa is situated high in the hills near the hilltop town of Monte San Savino.



Montisi BedroomVilla Maddalena, Montisi, Siena

Villa Maddalena is a magnificent, historical property with some parts dating from the 11th century. The villa is extremely comfortable and well-appointed with a stunning kitchen (complete with wood burning grill) designed by the architect owner. The property sleeps 18 with 9 double bedrooms and 8 bathrooms. It has a beautiful panoramic garden and small swimming pool. The villa is situated in the small town of Montisi which has a few good cafes, bars and restaurants.



Is the price really inclusive?

Yes, apart from your travel and hire car all meals, wine, accommodation and service are included. Wine tastings and cookery masterclasses are also included.

What will I eat?

A three course lunch and dinner will be prepared each day. The menu is based around dairy, fish and meat, but we can also cater for vegetarians and people with gluten intolerance. We provide a welcome pack with fruit, cereal, bread, jam, tea, milk and coffee/tea for your breakfasts.

What will I drink?

Fine wines (average UK retail price £15-40) are served with lunch and dinner. We will also provide mineral water for meals and a supply of good local wine.


How do I get there?

Flights and car hire are not included. Florence is about 1hour and flights are increasingly regular. Pisa airport is 2 hours away by car. Rome airport is 3 hours away by car. A car is the best way to reach both villas and the only way to explore the region. If you don’t want to drive we can arrange a transfer from any airport. However a hire care is recommended if you are staying at Pastina Alta as it is a 30min walk to the nearest town.



Sample menu:

Saturday – Welcome Dinner

Lasagna al Forno (Fresh Lasagna)

Wine: Cantina della Volta Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC Rimosso 2010, Emilia Romagna

Farona con Uve (Guinea Fowl with Grapes and Marsala)

Wine: Montecappone Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC Classico Federico II 2011, Marche

Gelati (Selection artisan ice cream)

Wine: Limoncello di Capri


Sunday – Piedmont

Bagna Cauda (Hot Garlic and Anchovy Dip)

Wine: Cieck Erbaluce di Caluso Misobolo DOCG 2010, Piedmont

 Agnolotti (Ravioli) *PASTA MASTERCLASS*

Wine: Cascina Ballarin Dolcetto D’Alba Bussia DOC 2009, Piedmont

 Zabaglione al Moscato (Zabaglione with Muscat)

Wine: Cà dei Mandorli Moscato D’Asti DOCG Dei Giari, Piedmont


Monday –Tuscany


Insalata di Porcini e Pecorino (Cep and sheep cheese salad) *PORCINI MASTERCLASS*

Wine: Giacomo Marengo Cuvee Ste Anna 2010, Tuscany

 Coniglio alla Cacciatora (Hunter’s Rabbit Stew)

Wine: La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2007, Tuscany

Torta della Nonna  (Grandma’s custard tart)

Wine: Valdipiatta Vin Santo di Montepulciano DOC 2005, Tuscany


Tuesday – Veneto

Pesce in Saor (Sweet and sour fish)

Wine: Inama Soave DOC Classico 2010, Veneto

Risotto al Valpolicella *RISOTTO MASTERCLASS*

Wine: Tedeschi Capitel Nicalò Appassimento Valpolicella DOC Superiore 2009, Veneto


Wine: Tedeschi Vin de La Fabriseria Vino Passito 2006, Veneto


Wednesday – The Islands and South

Linguine al granchio (Linguine with fresh crab)

Wine: Mesa Vermentino di Sardegna DOC Giunco 2011, Sardinia

Branzino in crosta do sale (Seabass in a salt crust)

Wine: Manfredi Guccione Girgis extra Catarratto extra lucido 2011, Sicily

Semifreddo al crocante (Praline semifreddo)

Wine: Cantine Vinci Passito di Pantelleria Liquoroso DOP, Sicily


Thursday – FREE DAY

We do not cook on Thursdays and will recommend a good local restaurant for lunch/dinner.


Friday – The North

Gnocchi di Patate con Gorgonzola (Gnocchi in Gorgonzola Sauce) *GNOCCHI MASTERCLASS*

Wine: Cave du Vin Blanc de Morgex et de la  Salle Rayon 2010, Aosta

 Polenta con le Quaglie (Polenta with quail)

Wine: Meran Pinot Grigio Alto Adige DOC Linea Festival 2010, Alto Adige


Wine: Toblino Goldtraminer Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT, Alto Adige


Cook: Better Bread – Panzanella

The most disappointing thing about living in Tuscany? The bread! Although a cut above Sunblest and baked fresh daily it lacks flavour (it is usually unsalted) and goes stale quicker than you can say Panzanella! Luckily this recipe makes stale bread into Tuscan gold. This bread salad can be served as a summery starter or goes well with grilled fish or roast chicken. The most difficult part of the recipe (if you are in the UK) will be getting your hands on a good tomato! Read more

Cook: Porcini Risotto

Risotto is traditional in the north (Piedmont, Veneto) where the special rice is grown. The key to successful risotto is good stock, proper risotto rice, a large heavy bottomed pan and timing – it is really easy to overcook. Also serve it alone (not as an accompaniment) and one good ladleful is enough per person. Fresh porcini can be hard to find so you can use Portobello instead, but the risotto won’t have the same flavour/texture. Expect to pay £8-10 for 100g of dried porcini – they should be identifiable as mushroom slices not woody sticks (cheap and nasty). Read more

Cook: Playing with fire – Confit Salt Cod with Tortilla

I have to admit my cooking style is rather ‘freestyle’. A pinch of this and a taste of that. But some dishes require a more scientific approach. I had this dish in San Sebastien and thought I would give it a go. When you count in the salt cod (£15), the bottle of olive oil (£7.50) and the digital thermometer (£25) this “peasant” dish starts to become seriously haughty. Read more

Cook: Wanton Gluttony

Steamed dumplings are one of life’s greatest pleasures. But with so many great Dim Sum restaurants in London is it really worth the hastle? This recipe is quick, easy and fun to make and you can be sure to avoid ‘surprise’ meat!

I use wanton wrapers that you can buy fresh in all good Chinese and Vietnamese supermarkets. One packet will give you around 30 dumplin’ – enough for 4 as a starter. Keep the wrapers chilled in the fridge until the last minute or they meld together into an unworkable lump! Read more

Cook: Recycled Food

Recycling is all the rage, but it still doesn’t stop us throwing away thousands of tonnes of edible food every year. But this isn’t an eco rant as I don’t have a leg to stand on (except all my bulbs are long life). I recycle my food because it gives dishes of incomparable depth and complexity. Like a good wine flavours will develop in dishes that are left in the fridge for a few days. I am not sure how safe it is to recycle food for a fortnight, but I am still here. Read more

Away: Pizza, Pasta, Prada!

PradaThe best things in life………are expensive! But think of all the money you will save once you learn how to make your own pizza and pasta! Our PPP weekend will teach you some great, simple Italian cooking and includes a shopping trip to the nearby Prada Outlet called Space. This designer weekend costs £450 and excludes all Prada purchases!

Click for details

Cook: BBC2 Restaurant in your home

The joy of reality!

For those of you who didn’t catch the BBC2 show last night here is a quick synopsis: supposedly media savvy couple (me and Marie my girlfriend) stupidly involve themselves in a reality TV show about setting up a restaurant in your own home. The program was a pilot for a new series fronted by supposed ‘experts’ Mike and Tina. Read more

Cook: Don’t release the pressure

release-the-pressureIt was Heston the lord of molecular, who first preached the virtues of pressure  and since the purchase of my £25 Tower (I wish I had traded up to the shinier, easier to clean stainless version) I have never looked back. A pressure cooker cooks quickly without allowing any evaporation so flavours become concentrated. This is great for curries, soups and sauces, but this device really comes into its own for stewing particularly tough cuts of meat. The likes of ox tail, beef cheek and scrag end of lamb would usually take hours of slow cooking are tenderised in under an hour. Read more

Cook: My Goreng Soup

SoupMee Goreng is a famous Malay dish. My Goreng is my version of a beef brisket noodle soup inspired by my great local Puji Puji and Chinese friend Anna, who made me a similar dish. If you don’t have a pressure cooker you are a loser! (Increase cooking time to 3-4 hours on the hob) Read more

Cook: Gnarly gnocchi

Gnocci FactoryI first learnt how to make gnocchi on a family trip to Piedmont when I was ten. A decade later my second attempt proved to be one of my worst culinary disasters. Made ahead of time the gnocchi that I had foolishely piled on top of each other did a Terminator and morphed back into one solid block of dough – just in time for the dinner party. My spiteful vegan friend Pernille reminded me of this incident everytime we met and it has taken me another decade to get back my gno-jo. The basic mix was about 750g of riced potato and squash, 250g flour and 100g parmesan. The bit where you ridge with a fork is a bit tricky, but I did get there in the end. Read more

Cook: Crab Stock

crabWithout stock there is no life. Without crab stock there is no bisque. I was unable to finish my huge Cock Crab on Monday at the Royal Native Oyster Stores in Whitstable, so asked for a doggie bag – we are in a recession you know! Read more

Cook: Mum’s Birthday

A special dinner for a special woman! When you have some really good wine better plan the menu around it and keep things simple. Read more

Fix: I like to moob it, moob it!

Start Weight: 106.6KG
Start BMI: 26.9
Cup Size: 38CC

I didn’t think it would happen to me. I swim. I work out. I eat a balanced diet (whatever that is). But it has happened to me……the big M. Moobs, Mantits, whatever you want to call them. The above stats make for sorry reading. What do you do? Give up and buy a training bra? Or fight back? I chose the latter option. But I have been here before. Boot camp, spin camp, swim camp, even camp camp (don’t try this one in Soho) I’ve tried them all. Then diet – Atkins, LA, Grapefruit -  hell I even tried colonic irrigation once. But it always seems to slide back on. I decided I needed to try something new, something radical and I found the 25 Club in Hanover Square. Can I lose the moobs in 25 days? (Read On)

Precious: The Reel Godfather

Who is the grandaddy?The Reel Poster Gallery is the premiere international gallery for original vintage movie posters on Westbourne Grove in west London. It was established in 1991 by co-owners Bruce Marchant and Tony Nourmand. Film poster art is hugely popular today: whilst other art may seem elitist demanding a degree of knowledge, movie art is accessible to all and the audience is global. Many people associate certain films with particular times in their lives which can make posters of seemingly obscure films priceless to certain individuals. The gallery recently made the news with the sale of the most expensive poster to date priced at $690,000. The original poster of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1926) was sold to a private collector in LA. (Read On)

The Reel Gallery 72 Westbourne Grove, London, W2 5SH 020 7274 488

Fast: The Classic Car Club for Automotive Swingers

Citroen DSCheryl Tweedy is undoubtedly one of the UK’s sexiest women. But could you settle down for the rest of your life if you had the likes Kelly Brook, Scarlett Johansson, Carla Brunei or erm Aimee Walton (the infamous adulterous hairdresser) pestering you for a piece of the action? If like Ashley Cole you have commitment issues and want fun, fun, fun with no strings attached the Classic Car Club could be for you. Once you join you can strike the words depreciation, garage fees, tax, insurance, congestion charge and maintenance from your vocabulary forever. (Better ask your partner about the commitment thingy) But hold on. I have gone off-message here. This isn’t about saving money; it’s about freedom and pleasure. [Read More]