Sunday, 19 January 2014

Leiths: Intermediate Term, Week 1

After a long, relaxing Christmas break I was brought back down to earth with a bump on Monday with the start of my Intermediate term at Leiths. My class was straight back into the kitchen on Monday morning, all of us chatty and excited but also a little bit nervous. Would we remember the skills we’d learnt last term? Had we done enough cooking over the holidays? There was only one way to find out!

· After cooking a Middle Eastern buffet for 32 on Monday and cooking 2 dishes (including individual aubergine and prosciutto gougeres, below) to strict service times on Tuesday, our reward came in Wednesday’s cooking session where we made chicken kiev. Nothing like a midweek deep frying session to lift the spirits! I’ve always wanted to make chicken kiev from scratch but before starting cookery school (where I’ve worryingly discovered it’s one of my favourite things…) I was intimidated by the deep frying process and its many health and safety warnings. I can safely say that the results were worth it. Time constraints meant we ended up deep frying our kievs all the way through rather than just deep frying to colour and then finishing in the oven. It’s a hard life! photo 4 (1)· Another major skill we learnt this week was flaky pastry, again something I’ve often wanted to try but felt intimidated by due to the lengthy method. The actual process is not drastically technically complex, you just have to ensure you get the first stage perfect and then concentrate hard all the way through! Little things can make the pastry go wrong fast – butter getting too warm, folding it the wrong way, letting it dry out – so it was rather a relief to get to the end with my little pastry block unscathed. I was so proud of the hefty rise my chicken & red pepper pie managed (below) and it tasted rather delicious too – a good end to two days of pastry work.photo 2 (2)· One of the many perks of being a cookery school student is getting to try so many new foods. Our second Game demonstration emphasised this as nearly every dish had a new ingredient to me including wild boar, hare, rabbit and salsify. Cooking eggs benedict on Friday also stretched me having never actually eaten, never mind cooked, a poached egg before! Whilst I enjoyed making them, I was so rushed I never got a chance to eat the finished dish so am still yet to try one – I guess that gives me even more reason to practice.

·By the end of the week I’d learnt two main lessons alongside a wealth of new cooking knowledge: 1), the intermediate term is a heck of a step up from the foundation term and 2) its surprising how quickly you can lose the stamina you’ve built up! During my first few weeks at Leiths I was absolutely shattered by the end of the day but by the end of the term I was back to normal levels of energy. However, after 5 weeks of Christmas fun our class realised this had slipped away and by Friday evening I was struggling to stay awake past 7pm! Bring on intermediate term week 2…

11 comments:

The Caked Crusader said...

Wow - that puff has some rise to it!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Beautiful puff pastry!

Cheers,

Rosa

La Table De Nana said...

You rock:)

margaret21 said...

That puff pastry is well named. You've encouraged me to have another go

Jo said...

Your pastry looks fantastic. So puffy!

Xinmei @ Pudding Pie Lane said...

Oh my gosh I didn't know you were doing a course at Leiths, that's so cool! Well done on your pastry, that's difficult to do but you've done a great job! Hope you enjoy your term :)

Maggie said...

The flaky pastry rise is unbelievable - well done - flaky pastry is so difficult!
I have several Leith's cookery books - do they use them at all during your course?
Enjoy your time at Leith's.

Mary Callan said...

Wow they work you hard but how lucky you are to be there!! the puff pastry looks incredible :)
Mary x

Gloria Baker said...

I love puff pastry, this look awesome!!

Lucy said...

Maggie - thank you! We mainly use the new Leiths book, How To Cook, and occasionally the Cookery Bible. I think a lot of the recipes are combined from the other Leiths books like the Meat or Baking bibles.

Maggie said...

Lucy - that's interesting to know. I don't have the new book but have the Cookery and Baking Bibles.