Previous part of this post can be found here.
Next up was 'Truite aux amandes' to my mother, or Trout and almonds to me and you. Our first chance to gut a fish and our second go at filleting one. We then tried our hands at turning some potatoes, to make them into pretty barrel shapes, a traditional French technique. We then had our first theory class, in which we received the dates of such delights as our 3 day wine course... yes it involves tasting, wines, spirits, champagnes, liquors.. everything. Yes spit buckets are apparently provided, no you don't have to use them if you think spitting in public is vulgar, as I most certainly do, Mother just wouldn't allow it!
Thursday – Morning was a demo, followed by making the pastry for the Latticed Apple Tart and blind baking, assembling with our previously made filling, baking and then completing with a heavy glaze. We also made Crème Asphodele, a lemon mouse set with gelatin. I found this to be very retro, what with the angelica garnish and all! Seriously.... angelica!!??! Traditionally one would use two diamond shaped pieces of angelica placed together to form a heart like shape. I was told that my two off centred strips making an 'X' shape added nothing to the dish, and we should endeavour not to add things to the dish that doesn't add anything to it. My response was simply “So why are we adding angelica to the dish? It adds nothing but a bright green, awful textured, over sweetness to the dish... which isn't good a good thing” my point was seemingly missed. I cant see Crème Asphodele being used too much nowadays unless as a component of a dish, and only if the amount of gelatin used is reduced to create a less dense texture (like the ones I made... shhh don't tell anyone or I may get in trouble for not following the recipe).
Friday – Saw us make a 'Salade de petits déjeuner avec oeuf mollets' (breakfast salad with soft boiled eggs), Glazed calves liver with sweet potato mash, stir fried brussel sprouts (yes I said sprouts, stir fried, pay attention!), Anchovy cheesecakes and finally Tart Frangipane as mentioned at the start of the earlier blog. The salad was a straight forward affair, the only bit that needed attention was the egg. Oeuff Mollets has no English translation apparently, but what it is is an egg cooked half way between the usual soft and hard boiled eggs. (You can see an example in the pic at the start of this blog, the egg that occupies the top and central portion of the pic) I decided upon a time of 5 minutes after slyly watching some of my class mates undercooked and over cooked attempts. Remember in my earlier post when I said 'NEVER AGAIN'? Well seemingly I forgot my previous statement and I left it to my onion soup partner to make a note of the time, put the eggs into boiling water, add 5 minutes to the noted time then remove to ice water to stop the cooking, whilst I got on with some washing up. Seven minutes (not five) later the eggs came out.
The calves liver was a delight, with the balsamic and herb glaze, really quite splendid. The sprouts were sprouts... so long as they are not over cooked they are edible. The only thing to talk about was the 'cheesecakes'. These were not the cheesecakes you and I would recognise. They indeed contained cheese, but rather than a cream-cheese they contained a nice mature cheddar. Rather than having a buttery biscuit base, these has a cheesy pastry base. Rather than having a lovely sweet topping, these had a filling of anchovies and butter in between two of the pastry 'bases'! Alas, these are cheesecakes in the loosest sense of the term and are indeed little nibbles one may consume with some champagne whilst debating the latest exhibition at the Tate Modern. Quite tasty and very morish, despite what their name may suggest.
So that's it for now, I will try and get myself back to full health this week and post a new blog every couple of days rather than a big recap like this. If I find my camera I will update these two blogs with pics, if not I guess I will have to extort some funds from someone in order to purchase a replacement. A blog without pictures... what's the point in that???
p.s. For those of you that know me personally and are disappointed at my lack of rants that have made their way into this blog... fear not! I can feel one or two slowly bubbling up from deep inside where I have kept them quite well quashed. How much longer I can keep them confined to my mind is anyone's guess. Lets just hope it doesn't rain any time soon, and I don't find myself following some ****head again with the worlds largest umbrella meandering around a crowded town centre, obliviously blinding half the population of Woking. They call them 'Golf Umbrellas' for a reason, think about it!