After spending nearly six months at Leiths, my class and I are well aware of the weird world we enter into every day. Cookery school is a bubble with food consistently on the brain – if you’re not making it, you’re watching someone else, if you’re not eating, you’re just waiting for the plate to reach you. You find yourself talking and obsessing about food in a way that most people would find crazy. And it’s not just us students – this was the week that our range of teachers uttered some memorable lines too..Another week, another new pastry. This week was the turn of filo – something I’ve bought countless times, marvelled at as they made it on Great British Bake Off and never given a go myself. Until now! A crucial part of making filo is beating the dough against the table with a specific flick of the wrist in order to develop the gluten. Trying to explain this process led to the classic line by my teacher ‘imagine you are a monkey and your pastry is your tail’ accompanied by a mime which sounds crazy but was surprisingly helpful. The next step is the elaborate stretching process to get the dough so thin you can see through it. We did this in pairs, draping the pastry over our knuckles and gently stretching it apart. As a different teacher said, this was potentially ‘the Bride Wars (what a film) of pastry’ as we desperately attempted not to create holes and sabotage our partners delicate filo. All in all, an interesting experience resulting in a tasty apple strudel!Wednesday was a day I don’t think many people were looking forward to: poached fish mousseline. Involving blending raw fish with egg white, then painstakingly passing it through a very fine sieve and poaching it in fish stock. Mmm. The day was about practicing classic skills – mousseline, beurre blanc, quenelling. In fact week 3 became known as the week of the quenelle and having been informed that our teacher that day was ‘the quenelle king’ the pressure was certainly on. Like piping or jointing I think it’s a skill that benefits hugely from practice so whilst this was perhaps not the most delicious dish I’ll make at Leiths, it was definitely helpful. Few demonstration titles are more enticing than ‘Chocolate’. It was the perfect reward after a morning of sieving fish – encompassing a chocolate tasting, watching tempering and sampling truffles. The ones on the above left were passion fruit or raspberry ganache filled and the right were coconut&white chocolate – essentially a gourmet Bounty bar. According to our teacher ‘chocolate makes everybody go weird’, referring to the new level of greed and struggle with self control people have when presented with a plate of chocolate, so hopefully we managed to restrain ourselves suitably. Turning out set desserts has become an unexpected nemesis at Leiths – jellies, bavarois’ and now pannacottas all seem desperate to stay resolutely in their moulds. Each time I learn a new trick – tip the mould at an angle rather than directly inverting it, shake it from side to side, jolt the whole plate downwards. Although the above vanilla pannacotta actually came out like a dream, it slid and stuck to the side of the plate, leading to a presentation dilemma that saw me plate up two versions of the dish and ask anyone who happened to walk past my table which they preferred. In the end the consensus was for the first one anyway, but hopefully next time I will be able to confidently get it right first time. Bring on week 4!