Friday, 19 November 2010

Do you want Fries with that? Career advice for all

No fires to report this morning as I did not have biscuits on the menu - they are back for Monday though so there is still a chance.

Today was two simple but technically demanding dishes a Grand Marnier Souffle and Consomme Julienne. The first involved several stages and required Creme Patisserie to be made before any other element was started. I decided to garnish the finalised article with segmented Orange and, such is the state of my close-up vision that I managed to run the tip of a filleting knife into my finger in the process. Not much pain and a very small cut but, if I did not want to add a garnish of randomly scattered blood drops a cut that had to be bandaged till the bleeding stopped. Undeterred, however I plunged on making the semi meringue base, mixing it into the Creme Patisserie, running a clean thumb around the ramekin and thrusting it into a 230 degree oven. This time I knew that the temperature was right as I was sharing the oven with a colleague who had set the controls herself.

The Consomme required lots of chopping and dicing and stripping meat of virtually every vestige of fat or sinew. The preparation took nearly as long as the cooking. Once the veg and meat were suitably reduced to small shards they were covered in cold stock and egg whites and brought to the boil. At this stage the egg white thickens and traps all of the veg and any random blobs of fat with the meat in a solid raft which floats on top of the stock. 45 minutes simmering is sufficient to trap everything and then the liquid is carefully ladled out into a coffee filter with care being taken to leave the raft undisturbed. The aim is a sparklingly clear and really tasty liquid in which the Julienne of vegetables may clearly be seen. The Julienne had been prepared during the down time brought about by a 45 minute simmer, boiled gently for 6 minutes and then plunged into ice water to refresh. Added to the stock at the last minute they would cook through as they were brought to the table - if they were thin enough!!

ll of this meant a mad scramble to finish as both dishes had to be completed and served hot, hot, hot. The results were encouraging even though the souffle had the kind of list that would have had a lesser captain calling for the boats to be lowered.

Overall I was pleased and they got good marks as well so in terms of results I would say that this has been my best - or at least most consistent week.

Demo introduced the humble Hamburger. Darina cooked them 27 different ways and found six styles of chips to serve with them. Whilst McDonald's classic Big Mac may be summed up as "Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions all in a sesame seed bun" The Big Bally is more like " One organic beef patty, an interesting selection of sauces and relishes that also double up as main course vegetables- or even soups- artisan cheese, freshly baked rolls, lots of rocket, cucumber pickle and an array of garnishes though not on this occasion Lemon Geranium". One particular burger looked as though a salad had been garnished with a burger rather than the other way round.

Highlight of the Demo came when two of our American cousins offered to build a real burger which involved the usage of H***mans Mayonnaise, H**nz Ketchup and F*****'s Mustard not Home made, Tomato fondue and Grain enhanced Dijon.

We were also shown how to make sausages though the lack of suitable fatty belly pork meant that we were shown how to make 8 sausages. Still it was an interesting and possibly valuable lesson.

Tasting was interesting but limited as one burger was made from Lamb and the same set of servers were used for all! On Monday I shall be making the burgers myself and will produce one called Tan y Ddraig.

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