Aaaand we’re back in the room! Welcome back and a very happy 2013 to you all! I’m going to keep this post fairly short because there is just SO MUCH going on right now and I want to dedicate a proper post to catching you all up on everything (and there is much to share), so let’s head straight into my brief recap on the past week, shall we?
This term our group cooking assignment is Cooking for 50 in groups of 4 – that means serving up a 2-course sit-down meal for 50 people, which translates into one week of intense work, preparation and a 3-hour morning cooking for a 12.30pm service time and… about 20 occasions of being cooked for! Huzzah! So far we’ve experienced 3 groups, all making very different things, all with their own positives and negatives but, generally, I’ve been very impressed. The themes have been interesting and creative, services on time and food very well cooked. I wish I’d taken a photo of the main course that accompanied the chocolate trio but it was genuinely so tasty I finished the whole thing without even a thought for a photo! So well done to those who’ve completed the assignment thus far and fingers crossed for my eventual assignment at the end of February!
Thus far in cooking sessions, it’s all been pretty chill. We’ve had 5 new students join our group, all of whom are lovely, so I guess it was a pretty quiet week to help them acclimatise and us get back into the swing of things. Honestly, I’m feeling a little rusty, despite having spent much time in the kitchen over the Christmas period, particularly in the timing department. Working to time is remarkably difficult and right now I am working very. Very. Slowly. But I’m not too worried because the learning is exciting and new and mostly things I haven’t done before!
I made my first ever Creme Caramel and flaky pastry last week! The Creme Caramel was difficult to turn out (as you can see in the above photo) and, even though I thought it was a little too dark, the feedback on it was that it was very tasty and well done (very smooth custard, woohoo!). The bitterness of the caramel combined with the sweetness of the custard worked well together to produce a “cleansing” effect rather than a cloying one, which can happen with too sweet a caramel (tick for learning, yay).
As for the flaky pastry, well. You see that pie up the top there? The teacher who was with us that day actually exclaimed, “WOW!” When she saw it. I’m not very good at receiving praise and I had been having a really terrible day so when she proceeded to praise the flakiness of my pastry and seasoning, I just kind of stared in disbelief the entire time thinking, “wait, this is good?” About 20 minutes later, however, I was on cloud 9. First time making flaky pastry and great success! So naturally I turned the flaky pastry scraps into sausage rolls with some tasty sausage meat I found at the local farmer’s market with TS on Saturday (they were delicious).
The beginning of this week has been quite relaxed, too. I have managed to cut myself already chopping onions (was being a bit careless but it was just a tiny nick) but I’ve also made my first hot water crust pastry (something I’ve been wanting to do forever) and later this week we have our first dem on offal! I cannot wait – this is exactly the stuff I want to learn so it’s right up my alley!
I’ll fill you all in a little more on why I’m so keen for Friday’s dem next time, as well as a few other bits and pieces as to why 2013 is looking to be one of my best, but until then I shall leave you with this rather phallic carrot:
Peace and love,