Reflections on week four of Cook’s Certificate by Will P.
Another amazing week on the Cook’s Certificate course passes and it hits me just how fast its gone and how much fun we’ve all been having. Only two weeks left until it finishes and I know I’m going to miss all the cooking, the other students and all the great teachers. One thing I’ve loved about the course is the variety of experts that come in and teach us – the range of different teaching styles and backgrounds has made the course really varied in what we’re learning and how we’re being taught. The teaching has been second to none and this week the course was quite different to previous weeks in that we had a number of “guest” teachers come in and teach.
On Monday we had the pleasure of being taught by author and experienced Indian cook, Kumud Shah. She taught us so much useful stuff, in particular the importance of having some staple Indian spices at hand with which you can make a pretty much limitless amount of different curries. Kumud taught us how to make a delicious baby aubergine and potato curry, a really tasty strained yoghurt pudding with saffron, called shrikand, and the tastiest mango lassi I’ve ever had.
Tuesday was another great day and we all got to play with pasta making machines and make our own taglietelle, tortellini and gnocchi. We learnt a simple but delicious burnt butter and sage sauce for the gnocchi as well as a really yummy mushroom and cream sauce.
Wednesday was one of the craziest days yet and when we saw what we had in store for that day we found it hard to believe it would be possible to cook that much. Learning Thai cooking is something I’ve always wanted to do and by the end of the day we had made our own green curry paste and green curry, green papaya salad and much more. But the highlight of the day was the sticky coconut rice, which had this kind of salted/sweetness taste which, as we learnt, is very typical of Thai cuisine. I think that dessert wins my choice for favourite dish on the course so far and I love how simple it is.
Thursday was Mexican day and we were lucky enough to have Dodie Miller, owner of Cool Chile Co, come in and teach us. I’ve visited her restaurant, Taqueria on Westbourne Grove, and I knew she would be great as her food is really authentic Mexican. She taught us some really beautiful dishes including a ceviche, enchiladas, a really tasty chilli sauce, a tomatillo salsa and salsa roja and so much more. I know I’ll be eating more Mexican now and I think what we learnt would be great to cook for friends and have a big dinner party with. One thing that stood out on Mexican was how the base sauces can be used for so many dishes, also the tortilla making was great fun and I was really amazed with how many different types of tortilla can be made with masa harina – the main ingredient in enchiladas, tacos and tortillas.
Friday was yet another amazing day where we learnt the art of sourdough bread making taught by one of the UK’s top sourdough experts, Dan Lepard. It was a fascinating day and everyone in the class seemed to have baked a really great few loaves and learnt a massive amount. We were given some sourdough starter to take home too and I’m excited to try making my own sourdough at home.
This week we will all be doing a 3 day wine tasting course, so that will be very interesting. I hear we’ve also got Middle Eastern cooking to look forward to.