A cooking frenzy: Guido’s feast

Yesterday afternoon the culinary powers of my colleague Guido were unleashed in order to create a beautiful Sunday meal. And, again, I was lucky to be there for a few shots.  It was my second time in this kitchen – remember Marta’s barszcz? Same place, same great people. And a full-blown meal was in the making. Fish baked en papillote in a ceramic pot with tomato sauce, a chicory-horseradish salad with pomegranate, and sweet-boiled pears for desert… I know!

Guido started from the desert – prepping the pears.

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They would need about 1,5 hours to boil to deliciousness.

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Peeled and in a pot with water, a cinnamon stick, some cinnamon powder, brown sugar and some anise (new word in my culinary vocabulary). And on the stove.

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Time to start preparing the red sauce. Peppers.

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And tomatoes.

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Guido used the trick with covering tomatoes with boiling water so that he can, very diligently, peel the skin off them.

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Well, diligently is maybe not the right word. With care but also with a bang. The kitchen under its current chef is a whirlpool of activity. Guido is full of energy, sauces and spices almost flying around, plates and cutting boards and pots being used simultaneously… “It’s like Tetris in here,” he says, “you have to search for any and all free space to fit eveyrthing!”

And as he’s saying this, and one story after the other, he takes on the oven as well. This cute, old-fashioned oven that needs to be lit up manually, from the inside. Bring it on!

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Peppers will be done properly, baked from scratch, then cleaned and used in the sauce. No ready-to-use peppers, at least today. There really seems to be a will for perfection in the chaos.

Then it’s time for the fish! Beautiful mackerels in a beautiful ceramic pot, which had been soaked in water for some time so that it doesn’t crack in the oven. A present from friends with the not-so-subtle invitation for Guido to cook in it, for them.

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Some olive oil, some butter all over the pot walls, the fish, some rosemary and in they go into the oven. 15 minutes first, then by now spectacularly smelling red sauce, some fresh basilicum…

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… and back in the oven for another 10 minutes. What about that salad, you may wonder?

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Here it is.

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Marta and I start making the table. And before you know it, the frenzy is over, the meal is on the table, the smell has migrated to the living room and we have already started the feast using just our eyes.

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Spectacular colours, too. But I try not to take too long with my incessant shooting. I wrap things up so we can dig in. Still, I manage to steal a shot or two.

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And yes, it was as delicious as it looks.

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What about that dessert, you may wonder? Well, here it is, for dessert.

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What an entertaining afternoon! And what a feast!


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