Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Back To School: Week One Advanced Term

Do you remember that back to school feeling after the holidays? A little nervous but excited at the same? Will the other kids still talk to me? Or dreading Algebra/Geography/whatever it was.

Ah, this time around it's just a mixture of excitement and nerves. Week one of the advanced term in Leiths started back with a retro bang and some kitchen magic. 

              Crispy duck salad with star anise dressing      Chocolate roulade

The retro fun was this lovely little fella - let me introduce Walter. There he is now dressed in his finest:

Walter, the dressed trout

And the kitchen magic was the demonstration on the wonder of clearing. It's a process where you transform a cloudy substance into a crystal-clear one by removing every solid particle using fine filters (egg whites). The end results are beautiful dishes like consommés and clear jellies with strong flavours and sparkle. You've always got to have a little bit of sparkle. 

Done properly it's a labour of love for your nearest and dearest. Our teachers were so enthusiastic about the wonder of it they have you wanting to rush home and clear everything you can get your hands on. In Heston Blummenthal's words, making a consommé is the true test of a Chef. We'll be getting our wands out in the coming weeks...

On Thursday I took part in a recipe testing session with some other students for an upcoming Leiths' app. The app is designed for home cooks with features including timed recipes, cookery terms and conversions and lots more. I love how it plans your time for you including reminders throughout the process. Lots of dishes were tested on the night including the monkfish and duck below. After tasting the dishes and seeing the features it's on my list for when it's launched next month. 

A week in Leiths can feel much longer because of everything we cover. But in a way I feel like time is slipping away and want to make every second count. When you're making dishes like tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream and lamb noisettes with dauphinoise it's hard not to want to stop and think 'ahhh'.  Or when tasting treats like Provencal fish soup and porcini, truffle and horse-radish jelly. 

Just 'ahhh', I think that eloquently describes the happiness these dishes can bring. Ahem. 

Then on Saturday this little cookery student went to the market with some other lovely students. You can read about the fun we had cooking at Road Food, Portobello Market here
Intermediate Term at Leiths


  1. I'll have the lamb and some tarte tatin please! Sounds like you're really enjoying! x

  2. One tarte tatin coming up! Having a ball K, feel very lucky X

  3. It's a kind of magic! Your lamb looks perfect... S.x

  4. Ah now I have that it my head again! It's a kind of magic... :-)

    Thanks Steffi! X