The trouble with writing a daily blog is that when you have a bad day you still have to put pen to paper and I’d much rather sit in a dark room with a cup of tea and forget about lesson 14. There’s nothing particularly unusual about the menu – pretty standard really – crab bisque, gnocchi Parisienne with passata sauce and rhubarb financiers. But it’s quite fiddly and there’s a lot of juggling.
I start by peeling off some strips of rhubarb to soak in sugar syrup, dry in the oven and then curl for decoration. Purple splodges of rhubarb juice fly across my work station and splay out onto my Chef’s jacket. I wash and iron my uniform every day and I’m irked that the practical session starts with me looking a mess.
I check the passata sauce which is in a pot in the oven. I remember my ghastly experiences in Basic when I’d forget that the pot handles are hot so I take care when lifting out the pot – not enough care and the palm on my right hand sizzles as a large welt appears. It hurts as I pull apart and wash the crab. I’m not thinking and I add all 100mls of brandy to the bisque instead of saving 50mls for the end.
Stirring in the eggs to the panada dough for the gnocchi Parisienne takes too much time. The melted butter for the financier has hardened so I need to remelt it before adding it to the egg whites and dry ingredients. It just doesn’t look right and my instincts are to start the butter process again, but I don’t. Big Mistake. They’re in the oven and the butter has split so instead of being cake like, they are crater like.
The consistency of my gnocchi is not right and I’m having a devil of a job piping neatly shaped 2cm squiggles into the simmering water. On a positive note I know that they will taste good because I cooked one and added more seasoning before putting the goo into the piping bag. It’s the only bright spot in an otherwise frustrating and unsatisfactory day in class. I’m relieved the school week is over. I’m grateful to Michael for picking me up. And I’m glad I’ve got plenty of Napisan.