COOK’S CERTIFICATE – WEEK THREE

Reflections on week three of Cook’s Certificate by Will P.

Now the course is well under way, I am getting more used to its intensity, which at first was a bit overwhelming. The sheer amount of what we are learning was initially a bit of a shock, but now we have all settled into it it’s getting clearer just how much I am getting from the course – it’s great to know I’ll have these new skills for life so I can share them with friends, family and maybe even to earn a living.

This week we learnt some fascinating and practical things, from the more basic: best method of poaching an egg; to more complex: making croissants from scratch. We had a whole day on puff pastry, which was probably the hardest day so far – it’s essential to get the pastry folding and rolling techniques perfect and of course there’s lots of resting that needs to take place.

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Puff pastry palmiers

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Provençal tomato tart with puff pastry base

Once the pastry is ready things get interesting – from the same technique it was great learning to make croissant dough which can be used for pain au chocolats and Danish style pastries as well as croissants. It’s a complex pastry to make but I am glad I know how to make it. The croissants our teacher, Ghalid, made really were the best croissants I’ve tasted so I know what standard to work towards now.

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Croissants in the oven

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Croissants fresh from the oven!

We had two whole days on sauces – sweet and savoury – which was really interesting. Knowing how to make the best pesto I’ve ever eaten is a great skill I am very pleased to have learnt and it actually works out cheaper then buying it in a jar. Making a good Bearnaise is something I’ve always wanted to learn and now I know how simple it is I look forward to sharing this great recipe with my friends. The aioli was also delicious and we used the creme Anglaise as the basis of a really delicious ice cream.

We all had a great time making macaroons and biscuits on the last day of the week. I made a double chocolate chip cookie which was surprisingly simple to make. I think with this biscuit there is scope to really try out different chocolate types and add different things like nuts and fruit. The biscotti we made was really crunchy and great dunked in black coffee.

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Biscotti

I’m really looking forward to next week where we will be learning international cooking styles.

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Cook's Certificate

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