Food-related meetings always get a good response from the Sweethearts, and this month’s meeting was no exception.
Stefano from Harrogate’s Cafe Rosso shared his love of food with us, telling us about his upbringing and enlightening us on the Italian way of eating.
He took us on a journey from his childhood in northern Italy to opening a restaurant in his adopted home town of Harrogate. As a child, he was involved in preparing meals at an early age, and remembers every meal being an opportunity to spend time together with the family.
He has carried that philosophy throughout his life, always seeking to make his cafe a welcoming and comfortable place for his customers. He treats them as family and does all he can to ensure they have an enjoyable meal.
Stefano had some fantastic anecdotes from his experience working in restaurants and cooking for his family. In a tale that many of us could probably relate to, he said his mother still insists on sending him ‘proper’ coffee – despite the fact he runs a successful cafe which sells very high quality coffee to happy customers every day.
As well as his usual menu during the day, Stefano now offers special events on occasional evenings, including buffet suppers and tasting nights. They are proving popular with customers and several members of Spa Sweethearts were keen to sign up for the next event (details are posted on the Cafe Rosso Facebook page).
Of course, no food-related meeting would be complete without some actual food. Stefano had very kindly brought along a selection from his menu, and it didn’t take us long to work our way through profiteroles, biscotti and probably the best tiramisu that has ever been created. Seriously.
If you’re ever looking for authentic, delicious Italian food created as though it were a home-cooked meal for friends, we would all thoroughly recommend Cafe Rosso – especially if you get to hear any of Stefano’s stories while you’re there.
Almost 60 members of Spa Sweethearts WI raced around the streets of Harrogate in July for our annual outdoor meeting.
For once, it didn’t rain – or even threaten to rain – so we were able to make the most of the chance to enjoy our beautiful home town.
Armed with clues, pens, and friends, our members set off from Montpellier Hill on a tour of some of the most famous parts of Harrogate, searching for hidden answers and secrets we all normally overlook. Taking part in teams of three or four, it was a chance for everyone to catch up with friends or get to know other WI members as they went.
The clues and route were expertly planned by committee member Jillaine, and most people managed to get almost every answer after a bit of hunting. (Except one. Who would have thought that, in the week between writing the treasure hunt and handing it out, someone would re-paint the one front door that had been chosen as a clue?!)
So, with some high scores competing for the glory of being named winners (not to mention a prize!), it came down to the finishing time. There were just seconds in it, but the winning team was chosen and announced to the group.
We finished the night at La Tasca in Harrogate, where we enjoyed tapas and drinks for the rest of the evening. A very sophisticated end to a WI meeting!
The WI may be known for its cookery, but it’s unusual to see Sri Lankan flavours on other institutes’ programmes. We’re very lucky to have Dee Morrow, of Dee Spice, based just down the road from us in North Yorkshire – and more than happy to share her recipes, tips and amazing array of spices with us.
Dee cooked four dishes at our May meeting. While she worked, she told us about her background and her family links to Sri Lanka which inspired her business. As well as selling her spices at numerous events around the area, Dee offers cookery classes, dinner parties, tuition and, like us, demonstrations. She has a knack for keeping people entertained even while she’s working her culinary magic.
It was interesting to hear that Sri Lankan diets do not usually include both rice and breads in the same meal – that’s a fairly English way of doing things! But the dishes used many recognisable ingredients such as chick peas and spinach, and Dee had plenty of packs of spices available for anyone who wanted to try the recipes at home.
To ensure everyone could enjoy her dishes, Dee made all of them vegetarian and there was enough for everyone to try some of each. With varying levels of spice and a lot of great flavours, there were certainly no complaints!
May’s meeting was another busy one, with about 70 members and guests in the room. We’re also edging very close to our 100th member… Watch this space!
June’s meeting is a skill-sharing workshop. Members who went on our Development Weekend in April will be teaching everyone else how to do some of the things they learned, including making canapes, sugarcraft and more.