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Science, sauces and souffle- Culinary School Diaries, Week 14

Week 14 was our final full (non-exam) week in the kitchen and was right up my street, beginning to look more at techniques a bit more akin to molecular gastronomy. I've since recreated quite a few of the recipes this week, and they have made excellent courses for dinner parties.


Monday was essentially a 3-course meal prepared over the course of the day, with a starter of pickled and compressed watermelon, fresh ricotta cheese, isomalt tuiles and balsamic pearls. There should, in theory, have been some olive oil spheres with these but I had some issues getting the isomalt to the correct consistency for it. The "main" was lamb loin, ratatouille, patty pan, a basil pomme puree, basil crisps and a red wine jus. Definitely one to revisit at home! Dessert was then a prune and armagnac souffle with an apple and pecan crumble.


Today was similar to Monday, making another 3 courses, with a starter of a sous vide poached duck egg, sour dough croutes and a wild mushroom ragout. We also made a main of venison loin with carrot puree, shallot puree, salt baked heritage carrots, salsify and a venison jus, followed by a carageenan based vanilla panna cotta with poached rhubarb.


Wednesday for me was pretty much characterised by me spending far too long trying to make my apple tart fine look exactly how I wanted it, which I did achieve, although by the time I had taken a photo, the caramel had started to run, which is quite frustrating! Lunch was a ballotine pigeon with a fig and pistachio boudin, butternut squash, braised baby turnips and a pigeon jus, and the day was finished off with a goats cheese pithivier, served with a fennel, courgette, walnut and apple salad.


Lunch today was ling with a curry crust, charred baby onions, lime emulsion, cauliflower puree and a coconut foam. It was fun to see how far I could push the char on the baby onions, which ended up pretty black, but very tasty. We also made burger buns ready for Friday, which I (and I think the chef tutor as well) was very proud of. The dessert made today was interesting; coconut parfait, apple jelly, pandan curd, puffed rice and yoghurt. I absolutely loved the flavour combinations here, being a big fan of pandan (I did use the remaining curd for my morning toast for the next week, not put off by its bright green colour), but the consistency on the parfait was just a bit too hard for me, so definitely a recipe that I could do some experimentation with.


I remember Friday's lunch very clearly: a very packed vegetarian burger full of sriracha mayo, blue cheese and beetroot, served with fennel coleslaw, triple cooked chips and a watercress salad. Today also finished off some box-ticking, making crab beignets with pickled carrots and a yoghurt dressing. The week tied off with the dish that I think excited me most out of any dish on the entire course of "egg on toast" - gingerbread with a coconut jelly "egg white" and a semi-set mango "yolk".

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