November 1, 2011
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Being a food blogger certainly has its perks. Lately I have been invited to lots of events and I consider myself very lucky. However, a recent invite to spend the evening in the Filini Restaurant Kitchen got my very excited indeed. I often get to eat lots of lovely food at events but I rarely have the opportunity to see how it is made so I jumped at the chance.
The Filini is based in the Radisson Blu in Cardiff and is run by head chef Mattias Wenngren. I have eaten in the Filini before and the food was very good so I was very keen to meet Mattias and find out more about his menu and how the dishes were made. I love cooking so I thought this would be a great place to pick up some tips.
Joined by fellow food bloggers Fastingfoodie and Cardiffbites and a journalist from the Western Mail, we were greeted and shown into the kitchen where our first task was to sample a generous display of anti pasta and a glass of Prosecco. The delicious range of cured meats, cheeses, breads, olives and sun-dried tomatoes were a taste of the quality to come. The whole evening was very laid back with some instruction on how to make dishes but mostly tasters of the menu and some of the chef’s own creations.
First up was a very quick demonstration of how to make Pannacotta which were to be devoured at the end of the evening. After this we moved onto a courgette salad which was so tasty and so wonderfully simplistic that we all vowed we would be making it for our lunch that week. How many of us stuck to that I wonder?
Following this we had a go at making a squid salad and while we tucked in, Mattias knocked up a very quick sauce-less pizza with Rosemary oil, honey, prosciutto and parmesan which was also very enjoyable. These dishes were followed by rack of lamb cooked beautifully with a medley of mushrooms, a strawberry risotto and a crab pasta. The crab pasta was so simple and so wonderful that I went straight to the supermarket to buy the ingredients to make it the next day. It’s since become our favourite ‘quick dinner’.
Faces were pulled at the suggestion of strawberry risotto and Mattais admitted that it wasn’t something that he would be able to put on the menu at the Filini but personally I loved it and would love to see a restaurant in Cardiff offering adventurous dishes like this. The flavours worked well together and although strawberries were a key ingredient, it was still a savoury dish. I think Mattias is a bit of a Heston in the making and I would love to try more of his unusual flavour combinations.
We finished the evening where we started, with dessert, and feeling full and content we headed off into the night. I think this was a great idea and I would welcome the invitation to do something like this again. Being in a restaurant kitchen was a great experience and very different to how I imagined it would be. Mattias is a talented chef and the Filini have a great menu which I can now try at home!