Thursday, March 03, 2016

Becoming a chef - week 9...

I honestly can't believe that my journey, more like an adventure actually, has almost finished. The chef's training finishes exactly on the 10th of March, and I WILL miss it, miss it a lot... We cook, we laugh and we eat, a lot (please don't ask me how much weight I've gained as I wasn't brave enough yet to actually stand on those scales....).

Smoked salmon on a celeriac rosti with lemon creme freaiche

Week 9 saw us making something completely new and using cooking methods, and equipment, new to us. JustCooking school is know for its BBQ classes so we used the break in the weather and went outside! The only thing missing was a beer, or two, but we couldn't possibly drink at school ;) not that we won't catch up on that once the course will finish....


It turned out that you can actually make quite a lot on that old, boring for some, BBQ - being it gas or charcoal. From hot smoking salmon to making that Aussie staple - beer can chicken, we even made a soup! A soup on a BBQ! Not to mention a risotto and.... chocolate molten puddings. Now, that's a whole dinner, with a dessert, all cooked/baked using a BBQ. Bring on summer and those long, warm evening! My next investment - a nice, family size BBQ, a bag of charcoal, lots of food and a nice bottle of wine :)

Beer can chicken and hassleback potatoes


Leek soup

That was one full day, outside getting smoked as much as the food itself... Once we got back into comforts of "traditional" kitchen settings we've made some stunning dishes, some of which I'll be making again and again... Most of you are probably familiar with the traditional apple tart tatin, how about a savory version of that well known classic. Black pudding, caramelized shallots and you've got yourself a delicious lunch or starter. It was absolutely perfect! I'm already thinking about other savory possibilities for a little tart tatins!

Black pudding and onion tart tatin

Steak sandwich

Consomme with chicken mousse dumplings

Open steak sandwich (and a sheer horror on some of my friends' faces, when they saw what kind of steak I like - raw baby, raw!) and classic consomme - another two great dishes. I was slightly surprised but the amount of work that goes into making that clear, clarified soup, but also slightly disappointed at the amount of food "wasted" in a way, while making it. I guess those are few of the reasons why it's not the cheapest option on the menu and is served only in fine dining restaurants. We've served our consomme with chicken mousse dumplings. No, it wasn't to everyone's taste, but to me, it reminded me slightly traditional Polish chicken broth. It wasn't bad at all, and if I can try dishes like tomato consomme or for example mushroom one - I'll definitely give it a try (if even not make it myself some time soon!).

Roast with Yorkshire puddings

Roast chicken with Vichy carrots, roast vegetables and gravy

We've learned how to make that Sunday roast, not that I haven't made it before, but it's always good to pick up some tips & trick as how to make it a perfect one. Though I was totally blown away not by the meat but... simple carrots - the Vichy carrots, so simple to make, yet so delicious! Full roast dinner meant also one of my favorite thing ever - Yorkshire puddings!

Coffee cake

Coffee cake

When there's a dinner there's usually a dessert. Even though I'm a chocoholic, a cakeaholic, and have one of the sweetest tooth known to a man, I really very rarely make any kind of cream/butter frosting on my cakes - just look at my cake recipes. So it was really good to learn how to make a proper buttercream frosting, so I actually start making them, because even though I wasn't making them at all, there's really nothing better than a soft, crumbly cake with a thick, creamy (or buttery) icing on the top... It was a coffee cake (an absolute hit with my two little girls), a carrot cake (my husband's favourite), lemon meringue mini pie, pear and almond mini tart (with frangipane) and a mini chocolate gateaux (which was a hit with everyone, something to be expected really...).

Pear and almond mini tart

Finally found out how to make a genoise sponge (chocolate or a plain one). It's really finny how I sometimes think that something might be difficult or tricky to make, that it's not worth making as it possibly won't turn out well anyway. And what's even funnier, I'm usually wrong, so wrong... So now I know, and with confidence that is, not to be afraid of all those recipes I have marked to try! As it will work! And even if it won't - I can always try again :)

Chocolate gateaux

Chocolate gateaux

Checklist
Fingers:
     - mine: still 10, still intact, woo hoo! 
     - other's: all OK too :) 
Hopefully it will be like that for the last two weeks

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

Lemon meringue mini pie

PS. Of course the beautiful sunny weather didn't last long. We're back with rain, wind, hail, rain, cold and... more rain. Could someone inform Winter that it's Spring already and it's high time to finally go away and take all those storms with her! Thank you.

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Pozdrawiam, Anula.