Italian cooking classes for winter

Escape to Europe with an Italian cooking class this winter at the Essential Ingredient Newcastle.

Mustard Fruits

One of the joys and challenges of cooking is inventing and perfecting flavour combinations.

While the key to adding salty, spicy, bitter, sour, acidic, fruity and sweet elements is in finding the perfect balance, these flavours can come from many different ingredients.

Mustard fruits are a wonderful addition to your pantry, providing a sweetness along with a uniquely spicy …

Type “00” flour: for perfect bread & pasta

Nothing beats home-made. Serving your own bread or pasta will always elicit heartier gasps at the table than something you’ve bought.

And yet, for all the love and care you’ve put into your own Italian masterpieces, often the texture and consistency of your bread and pasta isn’t quite what your local Italian bakery or pasta restaurant manages to create.

The secret? …

Truffle salt

The Essential Ingredient’s truffle salt is the queen of seasonings.

High quality sea salt is combined with ground Italian black truffle, infusing the rich, earthy truffle flavour through every grain.

A subtler flavour-carrier than truffle oil, your jar of truffle salt will never be far once you start experimenting with its intoxicating flavour.

Try it sprinkled across a thick steak, or use …

Marino Felice Italian polenta

Thoughts of classic Italian peasant food evoke visions of pastas, slow-cooked meats and rich risottos. Yet it is polenta, with origins stretching beyond the days of the Roman Empire and a consistent presence in the cuisine of the Italians ever since, that most comprehensively represents the ideals of the cuisine.

In its current form, having evolved during the Middle Ages, true …

Squid ink

For lovers of seafood, squid ink is a magical ingredient.

Its flavour is reminiscent of the sea, though not overly ‘fishy’, so it accentuates the taste of your chosen seafood without overpowering it.

Clams, mussels, firm fish, octopus, crab and, of course, squid are all wonderful partners with squid ink, particularly in rice or pasta-based dishes.

While many prize the flavour, squid ink’s most …

The history of risotto

There are few dishes as popular or as versatile as risotto.

At its simplest, risotto is a hearty, warming rice dish, rich with the flavours of the stock used in its making, as well as saffron, parmesan, butter and any of the hundreds of ingredients that match so perfectly with it.

Risotto is not only versatile, but easy to make, and as …