Fans of authentic Southern Italian home cooking will be excited to hear that Cooks in Case return to Kitchen Garden Café in Kings Heath with their third pop-up event this year from Thursday 30 November to Saturday 2 December.
Flying into Birmingham from their home in Bari, Monica and Valentina will be cooking specialities from the region of Puglia for three nights, and the new autumn menu promises tempting smoky flavours and comforting treats, perfect to warm up the chilly autumn evenings.
The evening includes a delicious four course menu featuring recipes that have been passed down through generations.
Simple dishes and seasonal ingredients...
The cooking in Southern Italy is characterised by simple dishes and high quality, fresh, seasonal ingredients. The ticket price of £35 a head also includes a chef’s surprise taster of the day (this time with a Bari street food theme) and a generous welcome aperitivo with olives and taralli.
Highlights of the new menu include (on Thursday and Saturday) La Genovese - cooked to a recipe by Monica’s grandmother - deliciously tender slow-cooked beef served with onion reduction and rosemary oven potatoes.
There's also Pasta al Forno (oven-baked pasta) with mortadella cured pork sausage, tomato and scamorza cheese; and a healthy and traditional seasonal favourite of lentils and rice flavoured with bay leaf, tomato, garlic and chilli.
Desserts include Monica’s delicious homemade orange cake with a dark chocolate sauce. The alternative to the cake is a tasting selection of four Puglian cheeses of varying strengths, all served with honey and Monica’s homemade onion chutney or fig jam.
Salmon and courgette lasagne, timbalo of butternut squash...
Friday’s menu includes a tasty salmon and courgette lasagne and a beautiful dish of stuffed cuttlefish, a typical dish in Bari, the port city known as the city of fishermen (pictured below).
Valentina will be cooking her father’s recipe of pollo stufato con prugne, chicken stew richly flavoured with prunes, cinnamon and onion. All three evenings vegetarians can enjoy a Bari Vecchia (Old Town) classic, a creamy potato gratin stuffed with herby garlic mushrooms, finished with a breadcrumb and parmesan crust.
On Friday the veggie primo is a rustic timballo (pasta bake) of butternut squash, walnut, smoked scamorza and pecorino with a béchamel sauce.
Traditional Christmas pastries and creamy cheeses...
The chefs are excited to introduce Cartellate, a Puglian Christmas tradition, to Birmingham foodies. These are beautiful rose-shaped fried sweet pastries glazed in vincotto and honey. No table in the heel of Italy would be complete at Christmas without this delicacy.
One of the most popular features of A CASA’s previous menus has been an antipasto of the exquisite burrata cheese (the creamy cousin of mozzarella) and this Autumn it will be returning, once again from the same small supplier in Puglia. This time it’s served with an exquisite cherry tomato confit and rosemary focaccia (Thurs & Sat), or caramelized onion and a tomato focaccia (Fri).
Who are Cooks in Case?
The Bari and Birmingham venture Cooks in Case is a collaboration between Birmingham arts producer Judy Owen and her partners Monica Contini and Valentina Comunale who live in Puglia.
They all share a passion for the region’s culture and in particular its superb cuisine. A CASA is a sensual experience allowing diners to enjoy the tastes, aromas and sounds of Southern Italy with the buzzing and warm atmosphere of a family-run trattoria.
Judy Owen said:
“We are delighted to be returning to Kings Heath with home cooked traditional specialities from the beautiful Italian region of Puglia. We would love diners in the city to experience the true flavours and atmosphere of Southern Italy, and hope we can add to the rich and varied foodie scene in Brum with our authentic alternative to the chain pizzerias that proliferate in the city centre.
A CASA offers a chance for people to come together to linger over simple pleasures: great food, great wine and great company.”
Monica Contini added:
“Cooking is our passion. And we love to introduce to English diners, dishes that we learnt to cook from our fathers, our mothers and our grandmothers, as well as some excellent wines from our region. We are so happy to be able to collaborate with Kitchen Garden Café in Kings Heath.
With its warm, rustic and informal atmosphere and magical courtyard filled with plants and fairy lights, it is the perfect place for us to create a little corner of Puglia in Birmigham”.
To book, or find out more, please contact Judy: [email protected] Tel. 07984 803175
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