Ashburton Cookery School Day 1

So today was my first day of the one month cookery diploma I am taking at Ashburton Cookery School. First impressions? The school and kitchen itself (we are in the school’s older kitchen) are lovely, the teaching is so friendly and enthusiastic, the breadth of what we cover in just one month is really impressive and the quality of the food we are cooking with is fantastic and locally sourced. Today we spent a lot of time practising knife skills and different vegetable cuts. I can now successfully chop an onion finely and quickly (a decent sharp knife definitely helps!) We learnt how to make a white chicken stock and a vegetable stock and had to make cheese and tomato omelettes for lunch. Sounds fairly basic, but mine totally failed. I was afraid to stir the eggs too much in the pan in case they scrambled so the omelette didn’t cook like it should have and broke up when I tried to fold it into a neat roll. It ended up looking like it had been thrown at the plate…hence no photo, it was far too embarrassing! The salad we had to go with the omelette was lovely and full of little edible flowers which made it so pretty.

After lunch we were shown how to make a chocolate and Cointreau mousse and I learnt that I have always been more light handed than I really needed to be when folding in the whisked egg white. We then had a go at piping chocolate decorations and were shown how to make quenelles with chantilly cream. As you can see, my chocolate tube was far from intricate, and my quenelle…well…I think it’s safe to say I need more practice…. The mousse was a really lovely texture, not too sweet or too rich…just right, in my opinion. I also got to play with a blow torch for the first time. We used them to remove the mousse from the mould and to give a nice shiny finish to the top and sides.

All of our vegetable chopping was turned into a vegetable broth with pearl barley and bacon, which we had for dinner. The colour of the finished soup was so vibrant and fresh looking and the soup had an amazing flavour, as well as feeling very healthy and nutritious to eat.

By four pm my back was aching from standing up all day and I was feeling pretty tired out from all the information my brain was trying to take on board. I figure I’ll need a few days to get used to it all. Very excited for tomorrow and chicken butchery!


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