Serious Foodie Course; Day 3

3 Feb

That’s it! Wednesday work-outs are now mandatory! Last night was the third night of cooking class and the food was the best that we have cooked so far. Needless to say, I ate every last bite of our large dinner resulting in the immediate decision to up the ante on Wednesday work-outs in a battle to keep the weight off over the coming weeks!

We started last night by learning the fundamentals of how to make cream soup. By learning the basic formula you can simply adjust your starring vegetable to whatever you like and – ta-da! –  you have a variety of soups at your disposal. It could be a cream of cauliflower, a cream of asparagus, or in our case, a cream of mushroom, soup. You can make all of those soups with one fairly simple recipe. If it was a math formula it would look like this:

Mirepoix, cooked in butter or olive oil + principle ingredient + flour + stock + extra additions = velvety cream soup.

Pretty simple, huh? So long as you stick to that formula you can make any cream of vegetable soup. The mushroom soup that we made was really earthy and the addition of hazelnuts really shone through and heightened the flavour. It was quite a heavy soup so it would be perfect for a warming lunch on a cold day.

Next up was baking an epi baguette and I will definitely be baking this again as it really had the “WOW” factor. Ok, well mine didn’t necesarily have the “WOW” factor but everyone elses did.

An epi baguette is an artisan style bread that is commonly referred to as “wheat stalk bread” as it consists of a series of rolls that are connected to look like a stalk of wheat. We learnt a neat little trick involving scissors to create the effect. So whilst mine didn’t turn out as well as I hoped looks-wise, taste-wise I was impressed. Being able to bake my own bread from scratch is a big skill to achieve and one that I hope to perfect.

The final dish of the evening was another “WOW” dish. I am still thinking about this dish today! It was Chicken Saltimbocca and it is an Italian dish, from the Roma region and it is traditionally made with veal, rather than chicken. The combination of the sauce, the saltiness of the prosciutto and the tenderness of the chicken made this dish an instant hit. It was perfectly paired with glazed carrots and crack roasted new potatoes. Oh! Just looking at this picture makes me want to make it again!!

Helpful tips that I learnt last night:

  • Bread flour has more gluten, meaning that it will rise more, so make sure you use it over regular flour for bread baking.
  • When baking bread use parchment paper to line the tray. If you don’t have any parchment paper, you can use cornmeal.
  • When buying leeks, the more of the white stem it has the better it is. You actually want less green when buying leeks.
  • When cooking with oyster mushrooms, don’t slice them. Just tear them.
  • Dry vermouth is better to cook with than white wine as it has more flavour (as it is flavoured with herbs and spices) and is much cheaper.
  • If cooking greens in a pot, cook with the lid off. If cooking other coloured vegetables (like carrots or potatoes), the lid on is fine.
  • When cooking with a non-stick pan, you do not need to heat the oil. However, if you are cooking with a metal pan, pre-heat the pan before adding the oil.

Day 3 was my favourite class so far. The food was superb and I will definitely be making all of the recipes again. B is back from Whistler on Saturday and I think I will make him everything from last night as a “Welcome Home” dinner. You know, really reinforce why it’s good to come home. Oh, and to show off, of course! 😀

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2 Responses to “Serious Foodie Course; Day 3”

  1. Angie February 4, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    It’s great you are documenting this. My notes are all scribbles in the margins of the recipe – not quite as easy to access! The mushroom soup looks delicious.

    • greedyguts February 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

      Thanks! I figure this way I won’t forget all the little tricks and tips that I have learnt along the way.

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