Butchery, Broths and Many Breads - Culinary School Diaries, Week 2
I'm 5 days into learning in the kitchen now, and loving every second of it in all honesty. Some things are definitely harder than others though! I'm struggling a bit with butchery, as I think this far in life, I've only butchered two chicken and nothing else! My fridge is full though, as is my stomach, and my friends are about to be very happy with a delivery of fresh bread.
A nice easy start to the practical section of the course, focusing mainly on knife skills and different types of cuts used on vegetables. To showcase our new skill in making paysanne, brunoise and tomato concasse, today's lunch was a very tasty minestrone with pesto and fresh parmesan croutons.
As well as various prep for future meals, we finished off the day prepping a very truffle oil heavy vegetable broth - my least favourite meal so far, but good at really hammering home getting the fine, fast chops down. Though I was the first person to cut myself in the kitchen, so maybe not my finest hour.
Tuesday marked the beginning of this course's apparent love affair with bread - making pizza, our sourdough starters and focaccia bread. Also today, salmon-based pizza with a shallot dressing for lunch, and a quick masterclass on eggs - poaching, boiling and omelette-ing.
Presentation is really what I need to work on most, and as you can see I got a bit over excited by the amount of toppings I could put on my pizza, but the taste was good I promise!
More bread and more soup today, with white bread rolls, granary loaf and a potato and watercress soup for lunch. The afternoon was focusing on today's service of chicken breast with a white wine cream sauce.
This meant that we did our first bit of butchery of a chicken carcass today, which I successfully did, but apparently about 8x slower than I should have done, so that's something to focus on! I started the first fire of a small piece of paper towel in the kitchen today and feeling very proud of myself.
Moving straight on from chicken butchery to guinea fowl butchery - some similar skills here to the chicken, but a much more gamey flavour once cooked, which we did in the form of thigh in a veloute soup and as roast guinea fowl with cauliflower cheese. The veloute soup marks my first real mistake in my training, as I added the egg yolk without letting the soup cool down enough beforehand, leaving solid egg trails in the soup. Bit annoying, but hey, learning curve! Lunch was caramelised red onion soup with parmesan croutons, which excitingly meant I got to use a blowtorch for the first time. Oh, and some scones.
Today went a lot better than yesterday, with pesto and (freshly filleted) plaice roulades with peas and cockles a la Francaise for lunch, as well as chocolate pots with orange supremes and chocolate run-outs as a late-afternoon dessert. I think desserts tend to be my strong point, so was a nice end of the week task for me. The rest of the day was spent prepping for next week, mainly the very annoying-to-make ham hock ballotines and piccalilli.