Sole Bonne Femme with puff pastry fleurons.
This was the week where my food started to look like something I would pay good money for.
It’s crazy to think that we’re now over halfway through the course – the pace is so fast that it’s often hard to even take a moment to breathe. So when you start turning out food like the dish above (seriously. Look at it. I made that. SERIOUSLY) it is the most satisfying thing.
Something’s happening here, people – I’m becoming a chef.
This week we’ve also been continuing with our journey into wine – amazingly there are things that are making sense to me about wine, though wine lectures at 10.30am on a Monday morning are not ideal. It’s good to feel like the learning is actually paying off, though.
I think maybe the thing I was most proud of last week was my baking, though (as always). I made more flaky pastry and got to create my own filling (it was bloody delicious so I’ll hold off on sharing until I can actually write a proper recipe up for it but it had blue cheese, apple and walnuts – classic combo with a twist!) and even though I thought my pastry was going to turn out horribly (the fat started breaking through the layers when I was rolling out?!) it actually came out beautifully. I shouldn’t doubt myself when it comes to baking.
My personal mission this week was to improve on my pate sucree and, happily, I did as you can see from my gorgeous tarte au citron. Last time the pastry sides had slumped down a little and I’m convinced it’s because a) the cartouche wasn’t snug enough against the sides and b) I used barley instead of baking beans to support the pastry as it blind baked and I don’t think they were sturdy enough. So this time round I made sure I lined my case really carefully (I know you’re supposed to work fairly quickly, especially with sucree but honestly I’d rather take a little extra time to make sure that it’s lined as best as it possibly can be) and used a mix of baking beans and barley when I blind-baked it. Result? The extra effort totally paid off. My pastry was deliciously snappy and, happily, looked fantastic with only a couple of little creases at the top on one side (next time my personal mission is to improve on these!). I also tend to underseason when it comes to citrus so this time I added the zest of an extra lemon and the citrus was perfect. Very satisfying when you set out to do something and succeed!
The only thing I wasn’t totally happy with was the hazelnut meringue cake but eh, it’s a meringue cake – it’s not supposed to look like a work of art.
Three more Cooking for 50 tasks this week (I forgot to photograph one), generally very well done though a few hiccups here and there (as always). Special mention to the Mexican Street Food meal which was derricious.
So that was the week. This next week we’ve got a slightly shorter week (yay for long weekends!) but we’ve got more exciting creative stuff to do, more souffles and more pasta (made my first savoury souffle and some delicious pasta last week but forgot to photograph it!). Fun times in the kitchen! Let’s hope I continue to make delicious things. Until then, peace and love (and here’s a photo of me making pasta at home last year):