Cooking Giove’s Way

A year and a half ago I was visiting Montalcino and met my good friend Giovanni. He needed a prep cook for a class he was giving for Sadie Nardini’s yoga retreat,  and I happily volunteered. It was one of those “pinch me” moments, as we chopped veggies, spoke of food and life, and looked out upon this view. We became fast friends, and this year we attended his beautiful wedding. Another pinch me moment – he and Stefania, the party, the people, the food and wine…WOW!


And now they are both coming here for our American Thanksgiving celebration. Yay!!!

Then, the following week, Giovanni will offer a cooking class for Expat Kochen! Here’s a preview…   😉 Film isn’t so great – when I took this video had no idea I would end up using it like this, but anyway, sure had fun putting this together. Hope you enjoy and are intrigued to join the class!

We will hold the class on Tuesday morning, December 2nd. We’ll meet in the morning, cook together, then wine and dine for lunch. My apologies to all who cannot come at this time – work schedules and all. Expat Kochen events happen because of the generosity of people who donate their kitchens, and we are so appreciative! Sometimes we have daytime events, sometimes evening. (If you are interested in hosting an event, just send me an email and let’s brainstorm about it.)

We have a spectacularly beautiful kitchen for this class in Klein Basel, and the class will be limited to about 10 people total – so if you are interested please email me immediately. We are working on the menu – he’ll definitely teach us how to make his homemade pasta, and oh, I forgot to mention Giovanni is a professional pastry chef, so know we’ll do some kind of fabulous dessert! I am not sure about the rest of the menu – but know it will be wonderful. Cost will cover food – once I have the menu sorted will have those details for you via email. Think 40 Chf or less…

Looking forward! Email me here.


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Mushroom mess? Oh yes!


What you see there are most of the ingredients for last night’s dinner.  I was inspired when visiting my sister Urmi recently.  She took portobello mushrooms and grilled them for a main meal.  Add grilled veggies and voilà!  I began by roasting some onions, red bell peppers, and tomatoes.  Tossed them in a vinaigrette of olive oil, balsamic, salt, and pepper.  Had hoped to grill, but the weather wasn’t cooperating so, roasted the in the oven (190 C, 375 F) till they were browned and lovely.  Then I continued with these…IMG_3759Not portobellos but beautiful!  Any mushrooms will do.  Also tossed in the vinaigrette.  Had some avocados on hand so made a “mediterranean” style guacamole, which consisted of smashed avocados, chopped onion, garlic, and tomatoes along with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Once the veggies were all roasted, slices some fresh mozzarella and put it on top of the mushrooms until melted.


Serve it all on a bed of lettuce with a rustic baguette.  Such a satisfying meal – and very filling.  Can’t wait to do it again on the grill!











Here’s to rustic cooking – my specialty!  Thanks Urmi – what a feast!


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Cook & Dine – Restaurant Sonne, Bottmingen


Schedules are busy, so we have postponed this event till next fall.   In September, join Chef Philippe Bamas of Restaurant & Bistro Sonne in Bottmingen for a morning of cooking and an evening of finest dining.  Originally from Provence, this innovative French chef now delights diners in Basel lucky enough to find him.  Find him I did, and after happily eating there on several occasions, I met the owner and chef, and well, here we are!


10 of us will cook together with Mr. Bamas on Saturday morning for several hours.  Then we get to go home, rest and tidy up (hey let’s make it a DUGO night – Dress Up, Go Out!) and go back to the restaurant with the guest of our choice to enjoy together what we have prepared.

Cook & Dine Package

–Cook with Chef Bamas for 4 -5 hours on Saturday morning/afternoon (Get ready to work.)
–Prepare and enjoy this hand selected menu that was especially designed for Expat Kochen!
–Kickstart your cooking abilities by learning amazing techniques from this innovative & passionate chef.
–Learn from a master – ask questions – be inspired!
–Indulge in a feast for 2, including a trio of starters, fish as a main course, and a decadent chocolate dessert.
–Enjoy an aperitif and wine as part of the menu, along with water and coffee.
–Take home recipes, life long skills, and amazing memories.

philippe_bamas food

Just eating for two at this fine restaurant would cost around 300 Chf.  For only 100 Chf more, you can learn from and cook with the master and have an incredible meal for 2 including a glass of wine with each course – all for 400 Chf.

The philosophy of Sonne Bottmingen:

“If you want to treat your guests to food of the highest possible standard, then using fresh, high-quality ingredients goes without saying. However, freshness alone will not bring that happy smile to people’s faces that tells the chef he has got it right.

Philippe Bamas’ roots lie in picturesque Provence. His cooking style has also been inspired by his travels all over the world. The result is light, delicate dishes that never cease to surprise: they are unmistakeable and sophisticated. At the Sonne Bottmingen, Philippe Bamas looks forward to delighting you with his passion for the very best.”

And now, to further inspire you and whet your appetite, here’s a link for the menu…Cook&Dine-menu.  (Note it includes foie gras, tuna and more, fish as the main course and a decadent chocolate dessert!)

And to learn more about Philippe Bamas another link…Philippe Bamas info.

This is an incredible opportunity to work with an up and coming chef who happens to live in our own back yard.  Don’t miss your chance to join this unique class.  If you are interested please contact me as soon as possible to hold your place with a 100 Chf deposit.  

What/Where Cook & Dine Experience for 1 cook, 2 diners at Restaurant Sonne, Bottmingen
When: Saturday morning and evening, 1st of February, May 17th, 2014
Cost: 400 Chf for entire experience, cooking for 1, dining for 2
Register: Email by Jan. 24th.  Limit 8 people. We’ll send payment info and details via email.

What a way to start 2014 celebrate spring – I am so happily anticipating this event and so looking forward to sharing it with you!

Warmest regards,

Rylla Signature




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