Posts for the 'Westminster Kingsway College Cookery School' Category


Westminster Kingways College – Cookery school

Bread

A sample of my bread

Some of you might remember my blog posts about my NVQ Level 1 cookery classes at Westminster College from before the summer. I did go back to Cookery School after my big summer trip ended in September. In fact, I even started NVQ Level 2 at Westminster – a course which I am about one third of the way through. The only thing I didn’t do was keep up with my blog posts, something that I feel a wee bit bad about because there were occasionally some amusing tales to tell.

So I have decided to end the year, and the decade, by capturing some of the more memorable dishes and moments from the past few months of college. I always did enjoy sharing my cookery school stories with you, so it will be nice to end the year with a little note on one other cherished aspect of my foodie life.

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Westminster Kingsway College – Cookery School (Day 21)

It was the last day of cookery school before we broke for the summer. As I walked into class, Chef told me with great amusement that J was unable to attend. Readers might recall that a few weeks ago, I had a small bust up with J over salt – yes, salt. (For that post, click here). I have no problem with J, but I think that particular incident provided great amusement for many, including Chef. I too, can see the humourous side of it now, and so it came as no surprise when C, another girl in my class, mentioned to me during our break that she found my blog posts about the infighting in class to be absolutely hilarious. Although I don’t wish for more fights, I do hope for more amusing material to entertain you all with!

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Westminster Kingsway College – Cookery School (Days 16 & 17)

This week we made puff pastry. It’s not so much complicated as it is time consuming, waiting for each turn of that pastry to set before rolling it again. And all that butter! Surely it cannot be good for you. I suppose I have always known how fattening pastry is, but knowing and seeing aren’t necessarily the same thing. You attain a new sense of reality when you work with food, and so perhaps ignorance was indeed bliss.

Puff pastry goodies

Puff pastry goodies

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Westminster Kingsway College – Cookery School (Days 13 & 14)

We had another assessment this week. In an attempt to impress Chef, I cooked with a wee bit more butter, probably more than I would normally. Of course this wouldn’t matter if the food never passed my lips. But invariably it does, and although it makes all the food very tasty, surely cannot be a good thing for my waist. I also find that butter is making its way into my home cooking more and more as well. And that too, cannot be a good thing either.

For the assessment we made chicken holstein, potato marquise and courgette provencal. I was quite happy to make the chicken again, seeing as I’ve discovered what a fan I am of crumbed chicken, fried egg, anchovies, capers and beurre noisette. My courgette provencal was fine, although I wrestled with the marquise potato as I can’t say I’m a big fan of piping. It’s far harder than it looks, and I have no patience for such things. My turned out like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I have also decided presentation is not one of my strong points. I have no artistic flair to speak of, so I wonder if posting photos of what I cook on my blog works for me, or against me.

Chicken holstein, etc

Chicken holstein, etc

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Westminster Kingsway College – Cookery School (Day 12)

This week we had our first of six assessments. Typically we work in pairs, but seeing as it was an assessment, we cooked on our own although we were still allowed to prep in pairs. I wasn’t particularly nervous, although I certainly felt the time pressure. That, and the pressure of logically planning each work step so that all my dishes came together to allow me to plate up everything at once.

We made darne of salmon with parsley butter, ratatouille, and macaire potatoes.

I am seriously considering taking up NVQ Level 2 as well. However this depends on whether I would be permitted to start this September (before Level 1 has been completed), or whether I would have to see out the rest of Level 1 first. The benefit of a September start is that I would finish Level 2 in July, but the latter option would mean not starting Level 2 till February and not finishing till Next December. The extra five/six months would work against me, and it would mean that I probably wouldn’t go on to Level 2 which would be a shame.

Quite a few people in my course are keen to start NQV Level 2 in September as well. Chef will be making inquiries so watch this space.


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Westminster Kingsway College – Cookery School (Day 9)

Before we move onto the practical, our day starts with a two hour theory session. During this time we will cover, amongst other things, the dishes that we will make that day. We do this in a classroom and not in the teaching kitchen. It involves the use of a whiteboard, Chef scribbling away, and us taking notes. There is always an endless stream of questions from some of my fellow students about what Chef writes on the board. Seeing as some of the people in my class don’t speak English as a first language, I went through a period of great puzzlement and bewilderment as I wondered if it is because they couldn’t read very well. But closer observation of the people doing the questioning made me realise that they are constantly squinting, and so I now know it is because they suffer from myopia and simply refuse to wear spectacles.

Chef also occasionally draws diagrams on the board, especially when there is some sort of dissection involved. This week we were to butcher a chicken which resulted in this very artistic diagram that made us all giggle.

Chef's art work

Chef's art work

As you can tell from what he wrote, we made chicken saute chasseur. This is how it really turned out, after being butchered and cooked. It was tasty, although I have to confess a little under seasoned.

Chicken saute chasseur

Chicken saute chasseur

We also made pot roasted chicken; and roasted poussin with bread sauce; parsley, sage and thyme stuffing; and jus roti. There is always something so delicious and wonderfully satisfying about roast chicken. As we are not allowed to take our food home anymore, I tried to stuff as much chicken as I could into my mouth before handing it over to Chef. It must have amounted to several portions. And here I was, vowing to cut back after my winter of excess…



Westminster Kingsway College:
Web: http://www.westking.ac.uk

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Westminster Kingsway College – Cookery School (Day 8)

As you know, we work in pairs, and I have been trying to work with a different person each week in an effort to get know everyone in my class. This week was with G, who tells me he has been cooking since the age of nine. It is clearly evident he loves to cook, for when he’s not in cookery school, he is cooking at a 5-star hotel in Green Park where he’s been working for the last year and a half. And when he’s not doing that, he’s at home cooking.

It turns out that at lunchtime he sometimes heads to the hotel to eat. It’s free, and I’m sure the food is very good. I’ve managed to get myself invited to go along with him at some point, on the pretext of wanting to see the kitchen, although I wouldn’t say no to lunch either. Or maybe I invited myself, for I guess he really didn’t have much choice, seeing as I was brandishing my just-sharpened 9 inch chef’s knife as we were speaking.

Sweet & sour pork

Sweet & sour pork

We made lamb navarin and sweet and sour pork this week. The lamb stew, enriched with the flavour of the vegetables that we had passed through a chinoise to create a thickened sauce, was utterly divine. So much so, we scoffed it down rather quickly and I didn’t manage to take a photo. The sweet and sour pork was good too. As we created the sauce purely by eye and taste, it was a good test of our palate to ensure that we got the right balance of sweet and sour.

There will be no class next week on account of the Easter break.



Westminster Kingsway College:
Web: http://www.westking.ac.uk

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Westminster Kingsway College – Cookery School (Day 7)

We all seemed to be in better spirits this week. I suppose we’ve all become use to the idea that we can’t take food home now, whereas last week it was cause for a lot of grumbling. We have moved onto meat. This week’s dishes were: chicken escalope holstein (an egg, anchovy and caper garnish) with beurre noisette, chicken stir-fry with noodles, and pork chops with apple sauce.

Chicken escalope holstein

Chicken escalope holstein

Chicken stir-fry

Chicken stir-fry

Pork chops with apple sauce

Pork chops with apple sauce

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