[LEFT] ROAST FILLET OF KANGAROO with pepperberry sauce served with KUMERA GALETTE with pine nuts (by Me) – my first attempt at kangaroo turned out rather successful. The key is to cook it to medium rare so it doesn’t taste too tough/rubbery. Having said that, I do not quite enjoy the ‘special taste’ of kangaroos. [DO YOU KNOW? Kangaroos are considered as pests in OZ - simply too many of them!].
[RIGHT] BAKED COINTREAU SOUFFLE (by Me) – Again, another first attempt that turned out rather pretty! If done right, souffles make a lovely dessert as they are rather light and can be made out of all sorts of flavors…downside is you really gotta serve them immediately as they sink pretty quickly.
[LEFT] HANDMADE PASTA with TOMATO AND BASIL SAUCE (by Me) – My pasta turned out a little crumpled as I did not cut it well using the machine. Handmaking your own noods is definitely fun but need some getting used to…looking forward to making my own squid ink pasta at home soon!
[RIGHT] BREAST OF PIGEON with leek and mushrooms (by Me) – we were suppose to prepare guinea fowl (another type of game) but since it was out of stock…we ended up with pigeons instead (yummy! reminds me of my favorite delicacy in HK).
CHICKEN SAUTE CHASSEUR served with PILAFF RICE (by Me) – I have always thought that chicken dishes are easy since I have been eating and handling it my whole life (almost)…but learning how to chop chicken for saute (ie. 8 pcs) the right way is no easy feat!
CHICKEN WITH TARRAGON served with WILLIAM POTATOES (by Chef John) – The key to a good chicken served whole is the shape (gotta truss the chick), color and of course…the taste/doneness. Trussing a chicken with a trussing needle and string is something new to me – reminds me of craft work which I find really fun!
[LEFT] CHICKEN EN COCOTTE GRAND MERE (by Me) – another dish that tests the chicken trussing skill.
[RIGHT] CREME CARAMEL served with chantilly cream (by Me) – My creme caramel turned out well…so I guess the major improvement area for me is quenelling (of chantilly cream in this case). The key is to use a warm/hot spoon and lotsss of practice.
[LEFT] MUSHROOM CHAUSSONS (by Chef Darren) – The puff pastry was created from scratch which we worked on over a span of 3 lessons (the pastry needs to be turned up to 6 times with intervals of 20-30min in between). Tough job! I certainly wouldn’t think twice about purchasing puff pastry off the shelf or better still, purchase from a bakery that sells handmade puff pastry
[RIGHT] POACHED PEAR with orange glaze (by Me) – A very delightful and refreshing dessert which overthrew my dislike towards william pears. As for the quenelle…just as I thought I was getting it – Chef Darren pointed out that I require more practice
[LEFT] OMELETTE (by Chef John) – 12 eggs later, I still could not achieve the perfect omelette (lightly colored on the outside and moist/wet on the inside). I guess it is true what they say: if you wanna know how skillful a chef is – ask him to prepare an omelette and a poached egg.
[RIGHT] CHOCOLATE MOUSSE WITH ORANGE served with chantilly cream and candied orange zest (by Me) – A calorie and cholesterol laden dessert – mental note to self: avoid making this at home . I love the idea of making loads and loads of candied orange zest to be used for garnishing though!
[LEFT] BONED GRILLED QUAIL with wild lime and coriander butter (by Me) – Boning or rather deboning a quail is such a skill! 3 birds later, I was still not able to do it with ease – way to go! The dish itself is nice – I love everything chargrilled.
[RIGHT] VANILLA PUDDING SOUFFLE served with sauce melba (by Chef Darren) – To me, pudding souffle can never beat the typical souffle. I find this style of souffle too moist and dense for my liking.
AS FOR OUR FINAL PRACTICAL EXAM…
We were informed of our exam dishes and format 1 week before: within 3.5 hours, we were to whip up Chicken with Tarragon served with potatoes cocotte, glazed carrots & french beans as well as creme caramel with quenelle of chantilly cream for dessert.
I went into the exam feeling confident yet nervous – my greatest fear was my sauce (I knew I haven’t quite mastered how to ‘monter au buerre’ which essentially means mounting the sauce with cold butter to finish off the sauce with gloss and thicker consistency).
On the day itself, I started off strong and fast (a common strategy among all of us) but somewhere along the way I fell behind my workflow and ended up rushing the finishing which resulted in an imperfect sauce I guess the major takeaway for me is to work on my time management as it will become even more important as we move on to Intermediate and Superior class.
Last but not least….
Looking back, it is amazing how far we have come – in a short span of 9 weeks, we have progressed from basic cutting skills to sophisticated french cuisine (and being able to work under time pressure, too). I am proud of what my classmates and I have achieved and I can’t wait for the start of Intermediate Cuisine which commences 30th April. As for now…school’s out! Time for some exploring of places and food…Sydney, here I come!