After doing the Kitchen Basics classes from Food at 52 and learning how to make some pretty tasty dishes, I figured I might as well see what the following Kitchen Confidence series had in store. All or nothing right?
A couple of other Kitchen Basics graduates also had the same idea so it was nice to see some familiar faces, but also getting to meet some new ones.
Starter: Cod with purée fennel & sweet potato ﬁg and stilton stack
Main: Braised lamb shoulder with dauphinoise potatoes and green beans
Dessert: Tarte tatin
Kitchen Confidence week one started off well with a pan fried cod fillet and puréed fennel (ignore the lumps in mine!). Cooking tip – get yourself some smoked paprika, it’s a culinary game changer.
This sweet potato, fig and stilton stack looks pretty fancy right? As it’s predominately made from ingredients that don’t require much prep it’s optimum fanciness for minimum work.
Week one’s main was a winner for me. The slowed cooked lamb shoulder just melted in your mouth. I think when I make it again in future, I’d probably do a different type of potato as it was just a little bit too rich for me.
Unfortunately our dessert didn’t quite make the level of presentation that everything else had. This one sorry looking tarte tatin came out a little more ‘well done’…it was also considerably a lot boozier too but we weren’t complaining about that.
Starter: Butternut and biscotti Ravioli with sage and lemon dresing
Main: Persian Chicken Fesenjan
Dessert: Normandy pear tart
Week two consisted of learning how to make fresh pasta into really tasty ravioli filled with butternut squash and biscotti to start. It’s quite a sweet dish so each portion was about 3 raviolis per person with a good grating of parmesan.
Our main was what seemed like quite an exotic and colourful persian chicken thigh dish flavoured herbs and spices including cinnamon, cardamom and pomegranate molasses – if I’m honest, it wasn’t to my particular taste but interesting to make none the less.
For dessert we made a Normandy pear tart which was delicious! Relatively easy to make using ready rolled short crust pastry, poaching some pears (using red and white grape juice for extra presentation points) and mixing up some frangipane.
Starter: Thyme and goats cheese souffle
Main: Risotto negra
The third and final week of Kitchen Confidence started off with a savoury soufflé. Because it’s baked twice, it’s pretty handy if you want to impress at dinner as it allows you to bake it earlier on in the day and finish them off in the oven when you need to.
I was slightly apprehensive about the risotto for the main as I’ve never really been a big fan and there’s only ever been one occasion where I’ve enjoyed it (during mine and Will’s trip to Dubrovnik a couple of years ago in fact). I think it’s partly due to being made to eat congee as a child so I’ve never been that keen on eating wet rice.
Despite the rice element, it was pretty good to learn how to prepare squid. It’s been one of those things I always see at the fish counter and have wanted to take home but wouldn’t know what to do with. Did you know that they have a piece of cartilage that you have to remove that looks like a large plastic feather?
For the last dish of the series, we made some profiteroles filled with orange and cardamon cream. I think they came out pretty well and I’m all about zesting things now as they makes my meals look fancier.
So that ends my time learning to cook at Food at 52. Just like Kitchen Basics series, I came out from the Kitchen Confidence satisfied with what I’d learnt to cook, the skills and handy tips I’d picked up, as well as the recipes to try again at home. If you’re looking to refine your kitchen prowress, I’d recommend checking out these classes as they’re available individually, as well as a series.
Food at 52
96 Central St, London Borough of Islington, EC1V 8AJ