Molluscs, mousse and murder - Culinary School Diaries, Week 7
Updated: Oct 12, 2021
As the final week before exams begin, I was expecting quite a tough, exam dish focused work, but was very pleasantly surprised by a very fun week, with a lot of new content. One of the things that really stood out to me this week was just the enthusiasm of our tutors and the effort that goes into sharing resources and guidance on sections that really interest us as students, which for me is fermentation.
Monday morning was a bit of a pasta masterclass, making tortellini, ravioli and squid ink linguine, with a lunch of pumpkin filled tortellini with a Gorgonzola sauce. We also made more spelt bread, which I was far more comfortable with making wet than I was last time. I've learnt that with most bread dough, wetter tends to be better, and I was very happy with the rise and crumb on the finished product.
The theory this afternoon revolved around seafood and the debate over aquaculture.
Today was the first time I have ever killed a (non-insect) animal to my knowledge, and today I killed two; lobster (the old fashioned boiling water way) and crab (the slightly intense screwdriver slamming way as the crustastun was under repair). Lobster thermidor was for lunch, and I was able to have a whole lobster to myself as my partner had a fairly severe shellfish allergy. I honestly wasn't a massive fan of the strong flavours of the sauce with the fairly delicate lobster, but it's nice to try the classics out. I also prepped a cuttlefish for the first time ever, which is an incredibly messy job thanks to the ink going pretty much everywhere it possibly can. It does go very well in a tomato, chorizo and white bean stew though.
Wednesday mainly focused on the crab we killed and cooked yesterday; crab risotto with poached quails eggs, and a crab and tiger prawn cocktail with grissini for lunch. We also made mayonnaise for the first time as well as chocolate tarts with candied orange zest and spiced orange segments
Thursay is my favourite food day to date; a shellfish bisque made from the crab shell, crab cakes with mango and chilli salsa, chocolate mousse cake, and tuna nicoise. . We made sourdough today as well which I must say I absolutely aced; I'm very happy with how my (non-yeasted) loaf turned out, as were the chef tutors. I think what has made this week quite so fun is the increased creative control we've had over our work, being able to spice and plate things how we want to.
A fairly light finish to the week, making two fish dishes - salt baked bream (again, not my favourite thing in the world, but nice to learn some classic dishes) and tandoori ling with mango chaat, a very lovely, very spicy meal. We also made a gluten free chocolate "teff" sponge cake with buttercream icing. Not too sure I was a massive fan of this, but it was heavily soaked in Grand Marnier which is a definite bonus.