Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Becoming a chef - week 8...

Week 8 finished... I can't even noticed, but we've cooked/made soooo much it's almost unbelievable! I was editing the photos and there were so many of them! So many new skills learned, new things tasted for the very first time :) I'm really enjoying my time at the JustCooking that I don't want it to end, but... the end is near...

Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington

So the Beef Wellington. Yes, we made it and let me tell you - BEAUTIFUL! There's a bit of work involved - making mushroom duxelle, pancakes, first searing the beef properly, whole assembly (and we used crepenet to keep it all in place), then rolling it all into pastry. We've all decorated it on the top with leaves etc. but my "sparing partner" (my school partner Seamous), well seeing as he has an artistic background I've asked him to get creative - so he did ;) Toro it was! The Beef Wellington itself - amazing! I could live on it, literally. First time making it, I even think first time eating the "real deal", so have good few years to do of catching up with this dish!

Potato, horseradish and sage gnocchi


Vegetable tempura

It wasn't all meat though that week. We've made some light, crunchy, and not at all greasy, tempura and my no.2 favourite thing of the week (just after the Wellington that is) twice baked cheese souffle. Made with blue cheese - which I'll be omitting next time I'll make it (it was a bit too strong for my liking), but I'll sure be making it, and soon! Never attempted making twice baked souffle before, which turned out to be much easier than traditional souffle, less complicated and less chances to fail at it too...

Twice baked blue cheese souffle

Breast of chicken with celeriac, on a bed of cabbage with fondant potato

A dish that really surprised me, a positive surprise that is, was the stuffed chicken breast. It was so moist and full of flavour you wouldn't have thought a chicken breast could ever be like that. Stuffed with some cream celeriac and wrapped in Parma ham. Served with braised cabbage, fondant potato and jus, THAT amazing jus! Now I know and understand why it's like gold dust in the kitchens!

Choice of sushi

Sushi master at work

Sushi! YES! The amount of time I wanted to try my own luck at making it! But there was something always in a way - no seaweed, no good fresh fish, no sushi rice. I know, lame excuses, but they were indeed stopping me from acting. You can imagine how happy, delighted even, I was when we learned how to make them! As it turned out, our mentor Chef Mark worked along a Japanese man for few years now, gaining all that experience and knowledge about not only sushi making but also a bit of insight into Japanese food and culture - so who's better now to learn from, how to make a proper sushi. I do love a nice sushi, and it was brilliant to finally make them myself, and not for the last time I must say!

Oysters

Baked oysters with Asian flavours

It was a very interesting week, also a week of "firsts for me". First time opened an oyster, first time ate a lobster(!) after, definitely for the very first time, killed it with my own hands. Well, not exactly with my hands, but a knife ;) I liked the taste of the lobster, but... I'm really sorry now but I really can't understand what's all the fuss about?! Yes, it's tasty, but it didn't blow my socks off. Yes, the lobster bisque is something really good, full of flavour, depths of flavour, but the lobster meat... I think a nice prepared crab, or those big prawns are better. Just my personal opinion...

Guest for dinner ;)

Plaice roulades with prawn mousse, served with lobster bisque, creamed celeriac and duchess potatoes

Moules marnieres

We've made a lot of salads this week, and I mean a lot. It was a nice change though, and we all agreed that it was good to eat something a bit healthier for a change. We were also surprised that the salads turned out to be so filling and that we haven't felt hungry for quite a long time after them. We've also made something very popular in Ireland and UK - a coleslaw, but instead of using the usual cabbage we've used the red one. I think I'll stick with the traditional version of the coleslaw, as much as I like the red cabbage this wasn't my favourite was of using it. The sweet potato wedges on the other hand - a revelation!

Warm potato salad

Broccoli, hazelnut and bacon salad

Quinoa salad with pomegranate 

Beetroot and pumpkin salad

Greek salad

Cous cous with vegetables, feta, lemon and parsley

Red cabbage coleslaw

Sweet potato wedges

Checklist
Fingers:
     - mine: still 10, still intact, woo hoo! but... there was a first burn in the kitchen... I was so focused on taking the chocolate souffle from the tray with a tea towel, as to not to burn myself, that I forgot about the tray itself and burnt side of my hand... well, lesson learned!
     - other's: all OK too :) 

You can catch up with all the weeks of my chef's training HERE.

Chocolate souffle

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Pozdrawiam, Anula.