Next chef showed us how to make boulangere potatoes. This is a dish that started life when the housewives of France would take a pot of onion and potato slices, with stock, to the bakers once the bread for the day had been made, to make use of the residual heat in the oven. Tom Kerridge does a beautiful version with shoulder of lamb sitting atop the potatoes (see how here, watching the dish in action from 2min to 5min). Chef had already sweated down the onions for our version, and demonstrated how to use a mandolin before getting us to layer potato slices with cooked onion and seasoning, finishing with chicken stock. We cooked our dish (enough for about 16 portions) at 190°C for almost two hours, pushing the top layer of potatoes down every once in a while to stop them curling and burning. Once they were cooked, we chilled the dish with a weighted-down tin on top, to compress the potatoes, which by now had absorbed all the chicken stock.
|Rack of lamb, 'before'. Check back tomorrow for the 'after'!|
|Darker mussels are girls, lighter ones are boys!|
Thanks to Rob Dawe for letting me photo his work.
Part two of our lunch was jelly and ice cream! Only this is a professional course, so it was posh. We made the ice cream by making a custard almost the same way as our vanilla custard last week - with slightly less cream (to stop the ice cream from crystallising too much or feeling 'chalky' in the mouth) and slightly more milk and sugar, and instead of adding vanilla, we used a little rosewater. This was then chilled and churned in a pacojet, which makes ice cream in 8 minutes. To go with our ice cream we made an elderflower and champagne jelly. First we rehydrated sheets of gelatin then we dissolved this in a mix of elderflower cordial and water. We used a blowtorch to lightly eliminate any surface bubbles before adding in a little champagne (sparkling water is the
For dinner this evening we practised one of our assessment dishes - a madeira jus - to accompany our breast of lamb from Monday. We browned the chine bone and bits of meat from our lamb rack butchery before adding a chopped shallot and some chopped garlic. This was deglazed with madeira before the cooking juices from the breast of lamb were added, followed by beef stock. We left this merrily bubbling away during the day. We made a mint sauce by finely chopping fresh mint with caster sugar and leaving this to infuse in sherry vinegar. Once the sauce had reduced we strained it and kept it warm after removing some of the surface grease by placing clingfilm right onto the surface of the liquid and removing it. Meanwhile we cooked some trimmed green beans and kept these to one side while we griddled slices of courgette and kept these warm in the oven with a portion of boulanger potatoes. Keeping up? We unwrapped, de-tied and sliced our rolled, cooked breast of lamb and seared these with a little oil in a pan before adding some of our jus and finishing them in the oven. Just before serving, we warmed the beans in simmering water with butter and finished our jus by a 'monter au beurre' technique, where cold butter is whisked into the warm sauce, off the heat, to make it glossy.
I would love to have shown you my plate, but it was hilarious. What in my head looked quite nice, turned out looking like the very hungry caterpillar, with a courgette and bean flower, a boulangere potato sun and a very grumpy and soggy looking lamb caterpillar crawling across a slate, juice dribbling everywhere. Key learnings? Don't use slate for dark food. Don't use slate for food with sauces. Don't space food miles apart on the plate. Start again if it looks rubbish! At least I have a couple of weeks to work on that before I get assessed on it, hey?