Monday, 5 May 2014

Leiths: Advanced Term, Week 2

Week 2 – the week all day cooking returned, jelly making involved eggshells and cocktail sticks, tart slicing symbolised friendship levels and a tomato black market emerged in Kitchen 1 at Leiths…photo 1 (18)There are some things at Leiths that, when demonstrated or explained, we can all instantly tell are going to cause trouble when it comes to our turn making them in the kitchen. ‘Clearing’ was this weeks example. This is the process of making a liquid as clear as possible by removing all solid particles, even ones you cannot see, resulting in sparkling consommés or jellies. The process feels truly bizarre – I never imagined I would be adding crushed eggshells, yes, eggshells, to a saucepan – and anything so intricate is a challenge in a small kitchen. Making the above strawberry stay prettily suspended in the lemon jelly was painstaking and nearly gave me a premature heart condition at 18, much to the bemusement of my teacher, so it was a relief to have it finally presented, turned out…and demolished in 3 (12)Shortcrust was the first pastry we learnt to make at Leiths in the Foundation term when we made it multiple times, but since then we haven’t really returned to it - until now in this Tarte Normande. It was funny to see us all struggling to remember something we’d managed to learn and bake back in the day when we were still nervous and lost the majority of the time. Time constraints meant we were only able to do 3 rather than 5 apple spokes on top of the frangipane, meaning that although it was still delicious you had to pick carefully who got what slice!photo 1 (17)Our week finished with the return of all day cooking, this time centred around a Nordic inspired smorgasbord of goodness. I never thought that I would be curing and smoking my own fish, but this week I did both in the same day – and both were surprisingly easy! Tea smoked mackerel took 5 minutes to cook in a homemade smoker using a roasting tin and some foil, and cured salmon was as simple as making the marinade in 5 minutes, wrapping in clingfilm and leaving it for the week to absorb all the flavours. To be honest, I didn’t think this would really be my kind of food but when it turned out so pretty I couldn’t complain. photo 2 (19)                        Green olive and artichoke pithvier with heirloom tomato salad
I’ve lost track of the number of different pastries I have learnt to make so far at Leiths but this week was a big one: puff. When good all butter versions are so easily bought it is not something I have ever made before, but I really enjoyed learning how and the sense of pride on seeing your pastry rise after making it all day is embarrassingly satisfying. A heirloom tomato black market formed in our kitchen in the afternoon as we all tried to present pretty plates with limited tomatoes: conversations such as ‘How much do you want for a slice of your green one?’ ‘A piece of yellow or two orange slices at least, the green is rare’ were integral to getting a decent variety. Bring on week 3!


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Beautiful food! I particularly love that mini pie and the heirloom tomatoes.



La Table De Nana said...

Bravo Lucy..
I can imagine that strawb in mid jelly was hard to do!
Votre tarte normande est superbe!

Maggie said...

Oh wow what a wonderful week you had with pastry. The strawberry suspended in jelly......superb.