I was pleased to get back into the kitchen this week given last week was a full day of theory and am happy to report that I have passed the first two theory units; Food Safety Practices & Food Handling Practices (phew 😉)! This week we move into a seven lesson block which covers producing dishes using basic methods of cooking, things are ramping up. Today’s lesson we produced 3 dishes, Tandoori Chicken with a Summer Salad, Roast Chicken with Roast Vegetables & Buttered Green Beans & Chocolate Pudding with Chantilly Cream.
As always we started with prepping the trays and quickly moved on to get the sliced chicken breast into the tandoori marinade, (a few thinly sliced coriander stems, squeeze of lemon juice, large tablespoon of yogurt, tandoori paste to taste & seasoning) allowing time for the meat to take on the flavours. We then prepared the chicken for roasting; removing the wishbone (easier when you start at the right end as I found out 😆), stuffing the cavity, seasoning and trussing before setting aside in the fridge for baking later in the lesson. Chef showed us how to tuck the wings under to stabilise the bird before trussing and baking…my poor little chook almost suffered a broken wing as my first attempt was more like performing origami on it rather than a simple tuck under…oh well I am here to learn. Into the cavity went a few herbs, seasoning, a piece of lemon and a good nob of butter. We loosened the skin & slid under a few more nobs of butter and herbs. We then took a long piece of twin and trussed the dressed bird….the class results varied and I am alarmed to admit that bondage did spring to mind 😱. Later after seasoning & drizzled with clarified butter, the chickens would be placed on a bed of carrot, onion & celery mirepoix (check out lesson 1) and baked at 180C (350F) for about an hour.
Following the prep of the 2 chicken dishes we readied the vegetables for roasting. Nothing too much to talk about here; red onion, sweet potato, chad potato, pumpkin (butternut squash) and green capsicum (bell pepper) all cut to appropriate size, seasoned, strewn with a few crushed garlic cloves and drizzled with oil. The beans were topped & tailed, blanched in boiling water and refreshed in an ice bath, later to be quickly sautéed in butter before plating.
Once the chickens were roasted, they were jointed (new trick – love new tricks!) & served with the roasted veg and sautéed beans, drizzled with the pan juices. It was aromatic, moist and delicious. We then placed the tandoori chicken pieces in the oven to bake for 8 mins. When ready we plated by spooning halved cherry toms in the middle of the plate, adding the julienned carrot and cucumber ( I marinated mine in a little pickling liquid), placing 3 pieces of tandoori chicken on the stack and topping off with vinaigrette dressed mesclun. I was a little heavy handed with the mesclun as you can see between what chefs plate looked like compared to mine (but it tasted gooooood)!
Finally we moved on to the chocolate pudding. This little beauty was so easy to whip up, caster sugar, plain flour, cocoa, egg, vegetable oil & milk whisked until smooth, poured into paper cups (no joke) with a 2 or 3 tiny holes pierced in the base and microwaved for 2 mins….THAT’S IT!!!!. Now, I only use the microwave to heat-up cold food & cooking in one is almost a first for me, but this one is definitely to be added to my repertoire. Chef made a simple chocolate sauce (cream & chocolate to which he added Nutella) and a mandarine sauce made of mandarine juice and sugar syrup (one could also use orange). The pudding and sauce was plated with Chantilly Cream (lesson 3) and a garnish of strawberry and mint. That took all of 8 – 10 mins.
So, the cooking methods we used in lesson 4 were; baking, roasting, sautéing, blanching, microwaving & cooking on the stove top (sauces). Again it all smelled, looked and most importantly tasted great. I was particularly impressed with the consistency taste and look of the chocolate pudding… super easy and guaranteed to satisfy any chocolate lover, especially with the decadent sauces chef added. See you next week……
Bon Appetit & happy cooking!