Welcome to my tales of cookery school, food and travel

The first 30+ posts of this blog describe my experiences as I complete a nine month cooking course - the City and Guilds Diploma in Food Preparation and Culinary Art. I did this after I moved out of full time employment and it was purely selfish - I love food, cooking, eating and drinking. Subsequent posts are about, food, travel and adventures.

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Sunday, 6 November 2011

Week 17: Stuffed eggs are making a comeback - apparently

This week we make hors d'oeuvres and "cold larder" food including various sandwiches and salads.  We start with tomato chutney, raspberry jam, pesto, preserved lemons and other pantry bit and pieces, but by Tuesday I worry that I have fallen through a time-delayed black hole .... seriously, when did you last eat a Prawn Cocktail? Salmon Mayonnaise? Stuffed Egg? 

I think the last time I saw a Stuffed Egg was at a funeral in 1976. 

However I am reliably informed they are making a comeback:  indeed, the lastest issue of Life and Leisure has Stuffed Spanish Eggs as part of a tapas feature.  I would suggest they are a more upswept version with the addition of some Spanish flavours, whereas ours are the plain English variety with butter and mayo mixed with the yolk to make the filling - none of your foreign muck!

When it comes to Prawn Cocktails my approved version is that made by the hunter gatherer at Christmas.  It involves tomato juice, prawns or shrimps and vodka: not a chiffonade of lettuce or dollop of mayo in sight!  Suffice to say, the pictured version is not that of the hunter gatherer.

I spend a good part of the class teaching everyone how to pronounce Croque Monsieur before they decide it's easier to say Ham and Cheese toastie - they have a point.  Appropriately, as it's Melbourne Cup day, we also make a Bookmaker sandwich (which I had never heard of - nor had anyone else needless to say).  Most pubs would call it a steak sandwich - use tomato sauce instead of Dijon mustard.

We make smoked salmon canapés, and salami and gherkin crostini with the tomato relish we made earlier in the week. By the time assessment arrives on Thursday we think it will be an easy session. But there are 9 things to make: mayonnaise, vinaigrette, stuffed eggs, two types of canapes, a Croque Monsieur, a triple layer Club, a Tomato Salad and a Niçoise salad.  Nothing complicated, just lots of fiddly bits. We don't all survive and there are a couple of re-sits required. One is Dumb, who thinking his Club sandwich had been assessed, didn't bother to check and went ahead and ate it. Duh.
He made another one but it didn't pass!  I hook out another Merit, slightly over crisp crostini and soft filling in the stuffed eggs proving a barrier between me and the elusive Distinction. Yeah, really! Our assessment tutor is a total perfectionist.

So not a lot else to report this week. Our resident ex-addict has been off getting his teeth out  -poor dental health being a side effect of extended P use. According to my oracle (wikipedia) it is known as "meth mouth" and probably caused by "a combination of drug-induced psychological and physiological changes resulting in dry mouth, extended periods of poor oral hygiene, frequent consumption of high-calorie, carbonated beverages and teeth grinding and clenching". So kids, think about that before you light your first pipe.

This week is the final week of the Certificate in Food Preparation -  next week we start our Diploma in Culinary Art!  I have an exam on Monday, so must away and finish re-reading my notes.

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