Week four highlighted the rollercoaster that Leiths can be. I don’t even have a photo of the seafood feuilletee I made on Friday because I was so annoyed with the plate I’d served, although in the end it wasn’t actually that bad. Sometimes everyone has a bad week and I hope that this was mine – still enjoyable but just frustrating at the end!So far at Leiths we have only dealt with duck breasts, so our first challenge this week was carving up a whole duck. In fact we had to carve it once semi-cooked, adding an extra challenge in the form of a double layer of gloves so you could actually handle the meat. I didn’t expect carving a duck to be so different to carving a chicken (is that weird?) so it was really good to give it ago. Essentially this dish was the retro classic duck a l’orange served with pommes anna – a potato dish with the highest ratio of butter to potato I have ever seen – and it proved a very tasty way to start the week. New week, new nemesis. Jus. Sauces have been a struggle throughout Leiths for me – that final element that needs perfecting to bring a dish together. Perfect seasoning, reducing, skill right from the beginning. I made a jus last week that pretty much worked but this week felt like I was going backwards as it went from watery thin to toffee stringy in a matter of moments. Also, it appears eight months of burns and cuts in the kitchen have hardened us somewhat and the previously discussed skewer test (insert skewer into cooked meat, place skewer on wrist, if searingly hot then the dish is done) no longer works for us as despite repeated attempts we couldn’t feel anything, resulting in slightly overcooked chicken. Annoying when you have spent two days ballotining and cooking the whole chicken. Not my most successful dish but the wodge of garlic butter potatoes on the plate cheered up the situation. Croissants. Took 3 days to make, 2 minutes to burn. 6 months at cookery school and it appears I still haven’t lost my talent for forgetting when things went in the oven! In fairness, it was only the outside which had ‘taken on a bit of excess colour’ and the inside was still buttery and delicious but nevertheless it was a lesson learnt – when a recipe says 10 minutes, it means 10 minutes not 12. Despite this I had to remind myself that I never thought I would be making croissants from scratch – especially ones that actually looked and tasted like real, shop bought croissants – so I’m still a little bit proud and look forward to making them again so I can actually get them right! Bring on week 5!