Well guys it’s week 5 and things are going surprisingly swimmingly considering how intense the curriculum for this week looked at first glance. We seem to have been given a mountain of homework including menu planning, costing exercises on top of our already never ending time plans for each day, still, I’m managing to stay on top of things I think.
Our group are cooking in the mornings again this week, which I find great because when I get to school ready for the day (with a little help from my friends double and espresso) I am ready to hit the kitchen running, get in the zone etc, plus it also means we get to finish the day at 4:30, and when you have a 2 hour(ish) journey home, that extra half hour makes all the difference for your evenings.
Monday morning we cooked another roast dinner in groups of 4 again, Leiths seem to love a roast to kick off the week, the last one we did was pork (also on a Monday) which went really well, and I’m pleased to say this roast did too!
Again, it’s all about team work and communication which I’m sure all the exercises are about, they want us to learn to work well with people and communicate to get the food out all on time. So we did roast beef served medium rare with Yorkshire puddings (my fav), horseradish cream (totes not my fav) and Cavolo Nero (like that friend you sometimes see but often forget to call cause they’re a bit boring).
Anyway we also made cauliflower cheese each, again testing our white sauce making skills, this will be the third time we’ve done it, I’m hoping that’ll be it now, I like it, but there’s just way better sauces out there. To finish off that mountain of food, like it wasn’t enough already, we made brownies too! Now I personally think my brownies were the best I’ve ever had, apart from my fiancée’s because she does make the best brownies ever hands down Leiths or no Leiths, BUT I was critiqued for having a bit of a hard crust on top, I thought this is what they were meant to be like but apparently not, this didn’t stop me devouring them later that day.
That afternoon we had a demonstration split in two sections, one on the wonderful yet extremely complicated word of nutrition, I was kind of expecting a demonstration on healthy recipes and ingredients but it was more “science(y)” than I was expecting, the lady talked a lot about vitamins and daily dosage of fruit and veg but not too much fruit and more veg than ‘they’ say but all in moderation then a little more on carbs and fats etc, it was interesting but did kind of go against everything we’ve already learnt in the last 4 weeks cooking with copious amounts of butter, sugar, salt, cream and essentially ‘the good stuff’.
We then were presented with a short but sweet, and confusing, menu costing demonstration where we were also set our latest coursework assignment, to complete a menu costing exercise for a dinner to feed 150 people a 3 course dinner including canapés. Things went a bit quick when it came to equations and how to reach the correct amount for cost per person and then how much to add on to make a profit, numbers were flying all over the place but just couldn’t seem to get into my head, another few reads over the example sheet will do me a few favours I think.
Tuesday morning I arrived in school thinking it would be quite a relaxed morning making pastry and smoky chilli.
This will be our third time making pastry so they’re expecting us to know exactly what we’re doing, as I said with the white sauce too, I feel they test us three times on important skills so it can be properly drilled into our heads so. Leiths like to say “if you are ever stuck up a mountain and are asked to make this”… you will know exactly what to do.
This being said the session was anything but relaxed, there was loads to do, the pastry actually went well because yes we did know what we were doing, but the chilli involves several different elements which needs to have your full attention, everything from browning the mince carefully in batches, deglazing that pan, weighing out all the different spices and ingredients to add and also juggling the washing up that comes with such a big task. Still with the help of such an awesome team this week, shout out to Sophie, Alex and Faith, we absolutely smashed it, GOOOO TEAM!… #cringe
Here is a picture of all of our pastry cases, they will be being used for a lemon meringue pie eating contest later in the week in which our teacher will try to eat as many as possible… (to a certain extent, one bite each).
In the afternoon we were presented with a fantastic demonstration on choux pastry! It was great! I’ve never made it before but it has been on my list for a long time, I will now be practicing profiteroles until I get them perfect! I have a feeling they will test us on it 3 times.
Gotta say the profiteroles we tried in the dem that day were some of the best I’ve ever had, remember people, don’t skimp on the chocolate!!
Also, I am now a massive fan of ‘yuzu’… won’t be buying it too often after hearing how expensive it is mind but still… delicious!
Wednesday’s cooking session saw us finishing off the chilli and lemon meringue pie from the day before.
I don’t know what it was about our group that day but we were on fire! It got to about 12:00 and everything seemed to be done, our pies were made and chilling, the chilli was served, tasted and marked and we were still managing to stay on top of the washing up. On top of all that we also managed to get high marks throughout! I’ve spoken before about finding that ‘chefs high’ in the kitchen where everything seems to fall into place, you know exactly what you’re doing no matter how busy you are and you just seem to fly through the session, definitely one of my favourite days at the school so far.
And as if that morning wasn’t good enough, we then had one of the best demonstrations so far… STEAK! Holy cow……………………………
………(deliberate pun) this dem was so good, trying so many different types of steak, different cooking techniques, blue steaks, medium rare steaks… no well done steaks… ever, if anyone reading this does have their steak well done, please proceed to the nearest mirror and have a good long hard look at yourself, then proceed to the nearest kitchen and cook a steak rare and enjoy the deliciousness.
My favourite dish from the dem was a piece of fillet steak just flashed in the pan, blue as blue can be, bluer than Eiffel 65, it was drizzled with ‘chimichurri’ sauce (look it up and thank later) and THE most incredible triple cooked chips I have ever had!! Wow, what an amazing day, I even completed all my coursework for the term that night too, a glass of something strong will definitely be deserved come Friday night.
Thursday was a bit of a funny old day because we weren’t cooking! It was the other half of the year’s turn to have a full day cooking, so we were presented with an amazing demonstration on buffets by the amazing Annie and David, they made a great team and gave us an incredible spread of salads, baked salmon, smoked chicken and noodles, fattoush, chocolate roulade and cheesecake… several other things too but I cannot for the life of me remember right now, here is a pic.
We were also given a big task which will take place in week 8 which involves 8 of us planning, buying, costing, preparing and serving a buffet for 32 people! Very exciting, of a little nerve racking at the same time.
Really happy with the group and we all seem to be bouncing great ideas off of each other, I’m not going to reveal the theme of our menu just yet incase we our sabotaged by another student at the school who could possibly be reading this. Dun dun DUUUUUUN, but we’re all very happy with what we’ve come up with so far. Go team mouthfeel… or unctuous or… something better, give us the weekend to think it over.
Friday is our turn to be in the kitchens all day! I’m writing this section on the train at 7am before the carnage of the day ahead, gotta say I feel slightly confident, but am also going in knowing it’s gonna be hella busy… the next thing you’ll read will be me talking after the day’s events...
… so guys I’ve been expelled… kidding, it went well…Kind of…. bit of a rocky start with a teacher we haven’t had before and being accused of asking too many questions, it’s okay though, I didn’t realise she was just quite high on the banter level. I guess she was Banta Claus and today was Christmas… was awkward though.
Here, have a kitchen selfie that brightened up our day.
That night we went for drinks to celebrate getting through the day, a few bottles later I’m sat on a train feeling a bit queezy wondering if I should have gone to Camden for a dance with my new besties ‘Weezy’ and ‘Charlie Brown’… massive FOMO guys.
Next week looks like a lot of fun, except for two things, firstly we have a test on Friday… God another test, it’s like they actually want us to try and learn, and secondly we are making creme anglais again… totes also not my fav.
Thanks for reading guys