Another fabulous day at cooking school. I almost wish something would go wrong or taste dreadful (to another student of course, not me) just to spice these posts up a bit! I imagine I'm starting to sound like the annoying happy person with the perfect life..
Wednesday morning began with a demo of boiling 2 smoked ham hocks (they cooked for several hours and will be used in tarts we are making tomorrow) and slow cooked belly pork (to be roasted and served with our fish on Friday). We then returned to our work benches to make shortcrust pastry (for the ham tarts for tomorrow), and later we lined our tart cases (below). Rita (today's kitchen partner) and I thought our pastry a little dry (the fact that we were patching up holes during the cooking process may have been a giveaway), but the tart cases now look good and will make for a lovely lunch tomorrow.
We next watched Chef Stuart make the sweet pastry for the lemon tart I'm already anticipating inhaling on Friday. Stuart also made a start on the stock syrup which was to infuse and be the base for a coconut milk and lemongrass sorbet..
Back to our work benches and we were mixing up our tuille biscuit batter, which, after leaving to thicken in the fridge, we had a terrific time baking and making into fantastic tuille biscuits of all shapes and sizes (below)! (I was especially proud of the spiral and spoon I am triumphantly posing with at the top of this post).
After a quick demo on making curry oil (which is super easy and I'll definitely be doing at home) we baked fillets of smoked haddock topped with slices of Gruyere cheese (which had been soaking in milk), prepared buttered spinach, and revived the eggs we'd poached yesterday in boiling water. The result was a beautiful beautiful lunch of baked haddock, buttered spinach, poached egg, melting Gruyere and curry oil. If I had to eat it for the rest of my life I wouldn't complain. And such a revelation that poached eggs can be prepared a day in advance!
Back into the kitchen and back to work, making potato mash, preparing, stuffing and tying our pork tenderloin, prepping carrots, celeriac, fennel and shallots.
Our dinner was pork tenderloin stuffed with sage and lemon zest, cooked in a bag with fennel, shallots, garlic, thyme, apples and a splash of cider (above and below). We also pan roasted carrots and celeriac until golden in delicious honey (below), and cooked diced apple in butter and cream to stir through our mash with mustard. Once the pork was cooked a sauce was made with the juices and a little extra cream, and we all sat down to a lovely dinner - every plate was all but licked clean.
For dessert we enjoyed the most incredible coconut milk and lemongrass sorbet, with our tuille biscuits. The sorbet was the best I have ever tasted and I will definitely be making it when I get home (it may even pop up on the menu of my secret supper club which I'm becoming increasingly confident in opening ...)
Can't believe I still have 2 more days to go, when I have learnt so much already! I just hope there's enough room in my brain to take it all in!