As we come to a close of the second week in my cookery course, what have I learnt? Well, I now know there is a competitive streak in me determined to have my presented dish look better then the next persons. I think I want to be the best student, definitely in this group, that NZSFW has ever had. I am sure that will be a ridculous statement to make so soon into the course and my abilities are still so naive and young. Nurturing the passion to develop grand menus and challenging dishes that excite and delight will take longer then the requisite 16 weeks. We have worked on vegetables and stocks and sauces so far and no the heat in the kitchen will be turned up because these things although difficult in themselves are the boring and back to basics of cooking. However, when we are grilling a fish or baking a lamb shank or have a nice steak on the gridle we have to be thinking "veggies?", "sauce?" and make and ensemble piece.
First set of homework handed in and no one is quite sure what was expected of us. Guess we shall find out on Monday and just how little prepared we all are for the amount of effort they are expecting of us. Do we wanna shine. Well I bloody do so I know I need to write more and get reading more and devour cookery books by the truck load. Heston Bleumenthal's Fat Duck book was on a stand in a bookstore yesterday and I skimmed through it. Massive and full of amazing colours and things that dont quite look like food. He has laid out the challenge, as has Jamie and Gordon and I am not looking to emulate Floyd with a bottle of red in one hand. Do I wanna be like Nigel Slater - he at least is down to earth and no nonesense. Like Nigella - no we already have the porn star celebrity chef - no emulating that, besides she has it in spades.
Had our first wine day as well and looking forward to more of those. Keri our instructor seems very well versed and a lot of fun. Tasting jelly babies as the initial instruction on how the tongue works in conjunction with our nose. Olfactory senses appear to be bloody important in being able to taste food. My liquorice jelly bean tasted like sugar and nothing else when I held my nose. When I released it all the aniseed smells emanated around me and filled my mouth with new sensations. I guess thats why chicken soup is subjected to people with colds/flus - they can't bloody taste it anyways so why not.
I made French Onion Soup today and was dissapointed in the final colouring of my onions. Was I too lacklustre in the browning process - afraid to burn - I dont now, trying to impress the boss (head chef) I tried to be too careful with my cooking heat. As a result I lightly sauteed and braised my onions until browning was just turning them to mush. It still tasted delicious though in the end. Smothered in toasted sourdough bread and melted gruyere cheese with a sprinkling of parsley.
Eggs next week. Poached, omletted, in salad, in baking, fried, boiled the team will be toyed with and taunted to create little gems of genius. I have some secret ideas up my rolled up chef sleeves. Will let you know how I get on.
Signing off for now - have a yoga class.
Thanks dear reader for listening to me rant.