In Sickness & In Health: Leiths Diploma Term 2, Weeks 2 & 3


As those of you who Follow me on Twitter will know, last Friday TS went off on holiday for 3 weeks and around the same time SNOWMAGGEDON hit London. Simultaneously, I came down with a cold – just a mild cold, I thought, somewhat naively. TS looked after me for a day and a half before he left the country and then, as soon as he was gone, the snow came down in droves and my “mild cold” became swollen glands and a pretty nasty chest infection – so nasty that I had to take a day and a half off school (gone is my perfect attendance! Sob!) – and then, two days ago, I started coughing up blood.

Now, don’t panic. I am not secretly a Parisienne courtesan nor a character in a Victorian novel and I’m not dying; I did however cough so much that I burst a blood vessel. I was given antibiotics (which are now doing a stellar job) and I’m starting to get healthier but that did not stop my friend Jules from shooting panicked glances at me every time I coughed in our French pastry demonstration the other day, as if she were expecting me to keel over at any second. It also didn’t stop my friends and teachers from commenting that I “didn’t look very well” at any and all opportunity (I’m going to hope that wasn’t just because that was the day I chose not to wear any make-up…)

I tell you this as a way of apology because, honestly, I’m a little hazy on the past two weeks of school… so here, look at some pictures of things I made (mostly for the first time) and say things like, “ooh!” and “ahh!” I was particularly proud of the hand-raised pie and the steamed sponge cake (even if I did forget the lemon zest and ginger in the latter; no matter, it was still delicious).

Partridge with lentils and bacon, served with cavolo nero; enriched dough glazed rolls; hand-raised veal and ham pie; monkfish with herby hollandaise; aubergine salad with parmesan & chive crisps; soy braised guinea fowl with bok choi; steamed treacle pudding.

The most exciting demonstrations we’ve had this term, so far, though, have been the offal dem and the French pastry dem, offal and pastry being two of my main fascinations, plus we got to eat sweetbreads and brains in the offal dem (I totally dragged myself in for this one purely because I wanted to learn about offal, even though I’d had the day prior off sick with a fever) and yes, every time one of the teachers said ‘brains’ all I could hear was a zombie moaning, “braaaains…”! We’re also embarking on the next level of the WSET certification (happily I passed the last level with flying colours, which was a great surprise to me), so all-in-all it’s been an exciting term so far… even if my health has been less than perfect.

Deep-fried (partially-eaten) crispy brain nuggets; tarte aux framboise with pate sucree; food & wine matching.

Our journey into the Cooking for 50 tasks has also continued this week (we’re being cooked for approximately 20 times this term – how exciting and delicious!) and the food has been very tasty with only a couple of hiccups. Presentation, on the whole, has been beautiful and some really great cooking has been demonstrated. My group’s task isn’t until the end of February but we’ve put together a menu that we’ll be finalising this week and, honestly, I’m pretty excited for it – a chance to be a little creative with food? Fantastic! This was the week:

Rolled breast of lamb, stuffed with sundried tomato & rosemary, served with polenta and green beans; chocolate torte with cream, raspberry coulis & pomegranate seeds; “The Diner” (burgers & fries); Key Lime Pie with tequila cream; chicken pot pie, green leaf salad and mango; meringue nests, raspberry coulis, cream and fruit.

So that’s it for now. I was actually writing a very long post with some big news but, helpfully, WordPress thinks it’s too long and so won’t let me publish it, so that’s going to have to wait to next time. Hopefully by then I’ll be 100% better but until then, peace and love.

Jax x

One Response to “In Sickness & In Health: Leiths Diploma Term 2, Weeks 2 & 3”

  1. Ian Says:

    Loving your post jax, finding your diary really interesting especially as im considering the diploma myself. Good luck and keep up the great work, your food looks yummy.

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