Chef Christophe gave us a lecture on tuiles today. He made 4 different types: normal biscuit type tuiles, sesame seed tuiles, poppy seed tuiles and brandy snap tuiles. He made them in lots of different shapes.
Next chef Gilles prepared the mise en place for beef Wellington.
This involved making some puff pastry, duxelle of mushroom, chicken mousseline, crepes and stuffing a piece of beef fillet with foie gras and truffle slices then searing it all over and then chilling it all.
In the next class chef Neil completed and baked the beef Wellington. The puff pastry was rolled to size, crepes were laid on it, the duxelle and mousseline were mixed and spread on the crepes and the beef placed in the centre and wrapped the crepes and pastry around it. A lattice of puff pastry was wrapped around it, egg washed and baked. It was served with slices of globe artichoke, green beans, sautéed mushrooms, slices of potato shaped into leaves and a sauce made from the beef trimmings.
Lastly chef Neil made a trilogy of foie gras. He made a foie gras mousse foam, a slice of poached foie gras on diced pear, fig and grapes with a port reduction and a poached slce of foie gras on lentils.
Superior term started with a mix-up of the groups we had been in for the last 2 terms with some of our group being moved into group B and some students from other groups moved into group A with us. It did mean that colleagues we have spent 2 terms developing relationships with are no longer in our group, in the term in which we’ll be doing more team work than previously.
Seems a pity and unnecessary and many are unhappy with it but the admin aren’t open to listening to students it seems.
Anyway, the term started with 2 days of chocolate workshops. Instead of the demo and practical model of the last 2 terms, patisserie this term involves a lot more workshops consisting of double practicals with us having covered any elements of the recipes before and the chef showing us any techniques required to complete the items.
Yesterday and today was about making truffles. We were in teams of 2 or 3 and between us made lots of different types of truffles and confectionary.
Here are the items we made.
From left to right they are: salted caramels, hazelnut caramels, raspberry ganache truffles, lemon truffles, coconut ganache truffles, chocolate ganache truffles, nougat truffles, banana ganache truffles, coffee ganache truffles, nougat, white chocolate and passion fruit ganache truffles, spice log truffles and, above it with gold dusting in one corner, gianduja truffles (a praline ganache), lavender ganache truffles, spiked rum truffles, which look like the sorting hat from Harry Potter, marshmallows dipped in chocolate half way, Cointreau ganache truffles and lemon butter logs.
All pretty yummy. And lots of practice at chocolate tempering.
Monday saw the 1st of a couple of days of working with chocolate.
Chef Nicolas demonstrated the making of 4 different truffles and chocolates, which all involved tempering a lot of chocolate.
He made Malakoff which is a chocolate, praline and almond mix topped with white chocolate and cut into rectangles, moulded chocolates filled with a rum flavoured ganache, white chocolate, Malibu and passion fruit truffles rolled in raspberry sugar and lastly, caramel cups which are chocolate cups filled with Baileys flavoured caramel and then chocolate ganache and topped with a pistachio nut.
In the practical we each had to make some moulded chocolates and one of the others. My partner in the practical and I got to make the caramel cups, which was ok but I thought the Baileys actually detracted from the flavour of the caramel. However all went ok, though the shell for the moulded chocolates was too thick meaning there isn’t much ganache inside.
However we then all shared and got to take some of each type of chocolate home.
On Thursday we got the results of our cuisine practical exam. Just the result for the practical exam, not for the whole of basic cuisine. I got 82.6%, which is 2nd in the class and counts for 45% of the total mark for the term. Pretty pleased with that!
I’ll get the rest of the results for cuisine at the start of next term, or at basic graduation next week if I wasn’t going to be away.
In the evening we made the truffles that were demonstrated yesterday. We made them in pairs and my colleague Thomas and I made white chocolate and Cointreau truffles. This had the advantage of not getting covered in dark chocolate or cocoa.
Unfortunately, most of the class had been in the pub all day, having got their cuisine exam results early in the day, and some were far from sober. The class turned into a bit of a kiddie’s playtime with half the classing giggling and messing about, covering each other with chocolate and really annoying the chef. I must say I was impressed with how cool chef Nicolas managed to remain, though he did tell them all that it was the worst class he had ever had to take and next time, please stay out of the kitchen if they’ve been drinking.
At the end he came and thanked Thomas and I for helping him by taking the class seriously, not being drunk and getting on with making our truffles. He really appreciated our attitude and I appreciate his teaching. He is a good teacher and I’ve enjoyed all the classes we’ve had with him and told him so. We’ll be having much more of him in the next 2 terms and I look forward to that.
On Friday morning we got the results of our patisserie exam and I got 77.7%, 3rd in the class this time. Another good result. Hurrah!
Term finished with a final lecture about the production of chocolate with chef Graeme. We were meant to have had this a fortnight earlier but it had been postponed. Given that it was the last class of term, we had our exam results and several people had already left for a short holiday, it wasn’t too surprising that only half the class were there.
Now a week off before I start term 2 – intermediate cuisine and patisserie. Intermediate cuisine will be covering French regional cuisine, so lots of yummy dishes.