One of the many perks of the course at Tante Marie is that you often make pies, cakes, tarts and breads that you can then take home with you. This is, however, easier said than done. My first attempt at transporting cake home resulted in an unintentional upside down, rather bashed looking creation being served after dinner. Since then I have been trying to perfect the art of holding a cake in a packed train carriage, with rather limited success. So I’m thinking next week, I’ll attack the problem from a different direction, and start trading slices of cake to anyone who’ll give me their seat. It could be worse of course. One girl had the misfortune of placing her frangipane tart on the roof of her car as she unlocked the door, then drove off, forgetting to bring the tart into the car.
Coming to the end of week two, what has really struck me is the sheer number of dishes that you cook in a week. I would consider myself a fairly keen cook at home, and I like trying new recipes, but I have really been quite taken aback by the amount of ground you cover, and how quickly you cover it. We average 20 new dishes a week, which means that in this term alone we should cook around 200 different meals. Quite astonishing given I’m sure I recall reading a piece of research recently that said that most families have a meal rotation of between 10 and 20 dishes.
Anyway, my favourite this week was the Omelette Arnold Bennett. When did naming dishes after people go out of fashion? I think I should start bringing it back. Most people have heard of the classic examples like Peach Melba, named after the Australian soprano Nellie Melba, and Pavlova, named for the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. But glance through Escoffier’s Le Guide Culinaire and there are so many more dishes named after individuals. Poularde Marie Louise, filets de sole Victoria, supreme de volaille Henri IV. There are hundreds of them. So I think my aim for the next week is to reinvigorate the trend and come up with one to immortalise myself. Lapin Lury? Kiwi Jack? Suggestions welcomed.
Back to the omelette. It’s a smoked haddock omelette, covered with Sauce Mornay, topped with cheese and finished under a grill. An excellent way to turn an omelette into something completely unnecessarily decadent (but delicious).
As if in punishment for this, on Friday, we had our first proper theory class and were discussing some diet specific foods such as gluten free, quorn, tofu or just low fat, complete with plenty of samples. Given the time that dad accidentally bought low fat cream also resulted in family mutiny, I wasn’t anticipating great things, but I’ve haven’t really tried that many of these sorts of these things so I was keen to at least give them a go. Unfortunately, it may not surprise you to find out that my meat free, gluten free hot dog was also taste free. The gluten free digestives were a similar let down, with someone remarking that after eating one it felt like you hadn’t brushed your teeth for two days.
However, I suppose I should be grateful. One of the samples could have been ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’, something I unfortunately have had the misfortune of trying before, and something that anyone with taste buds could tell you is not butter. In fact, one of the working names for this blog was ‘icanbelieveitsnotbutter’. (I’m rather upset I haven’t seen this film in fact - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFC_Vg6IafU)
On a serious note, I came away feeling sorry for people who need to eat some of these things for dietary reasons (I don’t feel so sorry for people who just choose to eat them), because even putting aside the taste, which one could argue could be put down to personal preference, two significant issues arise. One is the cost (the small loaf of sliced gluten free bread we had from sainsburys was £3!), and the other is the fact that omitting key elements, e.g. gluten, means that an awful lot of processed ingredients often have to be put in to do the job that one natural ingredient would otherwise do, with the list of ingredients on the quorn sausages packet being quite alarming.
Finally, my art dreams may be taking another turn. Ewan has clearly been reading my previous blog posts (http://eatfooddrinkwhisky.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/broken-chairs-and-broken-dreams/) and decided to help. He gave this to me at dinner this evening .