Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Flashbacks of Week 6 & 7: Vegetables, Fruit, Eggs and Farinaceous

Two weeks of intensive basic methods of cookery entailed getting comfortable with principal techniques such as frying (shallow, pan and deep), baking, roasting, braising, grilling/ broiling, barbecuing, steaming, poaching (shallow and complete). To gain a firm grasp of these cooking methods a variety of vegetable, poultry, meats and fish were used to create the much needed step off point. Exploring the versatility of cooking, we experimented with everything from poaching salmon, grilling steaks to stewing meat.

Rolled chicken breasts stuffed with ham and melted Gruyere in deliciously flaky, buttery Filo Pastry with demi-glace, garnished with shredded sauteed carrots and leeks

Roasted Whole Poussin or Gawler River Quails, Bacon Bits and Jus Lie served with Turned Potatoes

Rare Sirloin of Beef on Rosti Potato with Maitre d'hotel Compound Butter and Watercress

Above: Trussed pork neck ready for roasting
Below: Carved Pork Neck, Jus, Pilaf Rice, Ratatouille and Turned Potatoes

Classic French Stew: Navarin of Lamb with Turned Carrot and Potato
Broiled Whole Tommy Ruff served over Chargrilled Eggplant, Zuchinni and Red Peppers with Balsamic Glaze

A Perfect Hollandaise Sauce
After several failed attempts at making Hollandaise Sauce, finally I managed to make one without overbeating it until the ghee split from the eggs into complete ruination. This was an enormous high for me!
Moving forward to week six: vegeatbles and fruits, but mainly it was eggs, eggs and more eggs on the menu as well as everything containing high levels of starch came into play and by this I mean farinaceous foods like pasta, rice, bread, potatoes and flour.

Above: Oueffs Benedict, Below: Scrambled Eggs on Garlic Toast with a Smoked Salmon Rosette

Spanish Omlette loaded with red onion, mushroom, red pepper, paprika and topped with Kalamata Olives, grilled sliced tomatoes and Parmesan Cheese

Tarte Tatin - Open Faced Upside Down Classic French Apple Tart

Rice Pudding with Spiced Prune and Apricot Compote, Flaked Almonds

Tomatoes filled with Duxelles, Glazed Turned Carrot and Turnips and Harricot-Verts Lyonnaise

Poached Salmon with Asparagus, Lemon Slices and Beurre Blanc
It was exciting making my very own pasta from scratch – a personal first. Using durum wheat flour, water, olive oil and salt we made up the dough and passed it through the pasta roller several times before slicing them into fine noodles and boiling them briefly.
Making my own pasta from scratch

Pesto Papardelle with Parmesan
Meat Pies
We also learned gnocchi basics – I was shocked at the effort required to make these perfectly shaped silk worms, the patience and the delicate disposition of your fingers and above all the sheer determination it requires. Undoubtedly it is an art that must be mastered over time. While gnocchi seemed a depressingly daunting task to me, it was heartening to receive full marks for the practical test for the week from Italian lecturer and chef Antonio Pianadossi who thought my risotto a’la funghi was the best risotto of the day – spot on in terms of “soupy consistency” and bang on in terms of flavour as well.

Above: Grilled Polenta and Swiss Brown Mushrooms with Spanish Chirizo
Below: Rissoto a' la Funghi

Gnocchi with Sage, Nut Brown Butter

Crepes Suzette: Classic French Dessert with Brandied Orange Sauce


Shantanu said...

Did you get to see Julia and Julia? You seem to be having fun. I love Eggs Benedict, but never realized what goes into making the Hollandaise sauce.

MEGalomaniac said...

Have not been able to see the movie yet. But am dying to get my hands on it! Hollandaise can be a nightmare, but if worked the right way truly worth all the effort!