Monday, 12 July 2010

Ashburton Cookery school: Day 1

Today was the first day of the Intermediate Cookery course at the Ashburton Cookery School. My plan is to show what we cooked. I won't be listing all the recipes (I've got a whole ring binder full) instead I'll list the tips I picked up each day from the top tutors and the things that set apart good cooking from restaurant dishes.


Poached salmon, saffron and dill risotto


Griddles chicken supreme with paysanne vegetables, roasted cherry tomatoes, garlic an basil oil

The cherry tomato (semi-peeled to create "petals" then stuffed with a sprig of rosemary and a sliver of garlic, roasted with a splash of olive oil and balsamic), the deep fried basil leaf and the basil oil garnishes really elevate this dish above just a simple chicken and veg.


Dark chocolate pot with amaretti biscuits

Piped some "pretty" chocolate shapes to decorate, again another simple but excellent embellishment which lifts this above just a easy dessert. I like the addition of the biscuits to give some bite, but I'm not sure about having them running throughout the pot. I think I'd prefer some sort of layered approach.

Today's top tips:
  • Stocks can be reduced down (by 10:1 i.e. reduce 10litres down to 1l) and then frozen. They can either be rehydrated for use as stock (make sure you taste the stock to ensure it's not diluted too much) or used concentrated for sauces.
  • Add a pinch of salt to help speed up the sweating process and start to season.
  • Risotto should "find its own level" i.e. a heaped spoon on a plate should flow to a level.
  • Paysanne means a triangular, crescent, circular or square shaped cut of vegetable
  • When searing meat only season it with salt before cooking to avoid burning the pepper.
  • Cut a lemon around its core to give four cheeks which can be easily squeezed without the fear of pips.
  • Concasse is peeled, seeded and diced tomato flesh.
  • Whipping cream is lighter than double cream so will give a more airy whipped finish.
  • Whipping cream and single cream can be made by diluting double cream with semi-skimmed milk. In the case of whipping it is in the ratio of 2:1 cream to milk and single cream the ration is 1:2.
  • Pipped chocolate can be used as a boundary to contain sauces for desserts.

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