I was so very blessed to have experienced a Menu tasting at the Protea Fire & Ice Hotel some time ago and the biggest blessing was to land up sitting next to Nina Timm.

This lady has the warmest heart, the most generous spirit and she cooks with love. The comfort and joy which you can taste and feel warming the inner corners of your tummy and soul.

Once I learned that Nina gave cooking classes it became of of my bucket list items, to be able to participate in one of these classes and I made it my mission to do so. After a little saving I managed to rally up a bunch of special friends and we booked our morning with Nina, at Nina's Kitchen in Pinelands Cape Town.

The friends who joined me on this awesome culinary adventure were Leana , Fi , Andrea and Elzanne and what a delicious journey it turned out to be.

The Menu for the day:
Roast Pork Belly with spiced pomegranate Marinade
Mushroom and White Wine Risotto (with optional blue cheese topping ...yummo!)
Greenbeans and Brussel Sprouts with Parmesan and Pitstachio Nuts
Baked Cheesecake Parcels with Plum Coulis

First up we were divided into pairs with Elzanne and Andrea partnering up and being handed the task of Mushroom Risotto making (it was a group decision to learn the traditional Italian slow cook method on the stove).
 Next up Fi and Leana were paired up on the dessert for the day which was Cheesecake Parcels with fresh Plum Coulis (it is winter after all here in Cape Town ... okay okay it's Autumn!)
We were odd numbers and because Nina knows that I am familiar in the kitchen I was tasked with making the Spiced Pomegranate Marinade for our Pork Belly. The awesome thing is that when you book one of these cooking classes everyone gets to cook , you all get to learn and best of all you all get to feast together on the fruits of your labours later in the day ....nomnomnom!

Every good chef knows you need to taste the food , here Elzanne and Andrea are caught red handed with spoons full of Risotto and they are 'just testing' ....whateva!
 So as the day progressed the table was beautifully laid in anticipation of the impending feast , there was much chatter as we all asked questions , tasted , smelled herbs and spices and got to enjoy some good times in the kitchen.
The meal was cooked and ready, now for the plating. Nina showed us a few tips and tricks for plating your dishes, how to make them look appetizing and appealing.
For me there were even a few tips on food styling and photography.
After the plating, styling and photography tips I realised just how important natural light is and you will see how beautiful my food images came out,  purely because there was plenty of soft natural light.
Proud of myself really considering these are taken with my Ipad.
 Above: Baked Cheesecake Parcels with Plum Coulis

 Above: Brussel Sprouts and Green Beans with Parmesan and Pitstachio sprinkle.

 Above: Mushroom and White Wine Risotto

Above: Roast Pork Belly with spiced pomegranate marinade

It goes without saying that we had the most marvellous morning with Nina , her family called the 'foodie Von Trapps' (after the sound of music) sang the most moving and beautiful song for us and included us as though we were family.

This is a truly loving and kind family , they embrace strangers as friends and love is tangible in all that they do.

I will be back and I wish to thank Nina as a friend and well known foodie ... you are a diamond , rare , precious and to be treasured.

Nina has a cooking segment on Radio RSG called 'Kuberkok' or 'Cyber Cook' in english. You can find her recipes info and classes information here:

You can also buy Nina's Cook Book , view here : www.my-easy-cooking.com/buy-gifts/

And yes! We were each lucky enough to go home with our own signed copy of Nina's Recipe Book *squeeeeeee!*

All I can say is ... COME HUNGRY!

Disclosure Ranking 1 - (Please refer to my disclosure ranking in the side bar)