Welcome to Year 3

So after my 1st and 2nd year of learning to be a Professional Chef I arrive at the pinnacle of my college education, my defining year. I just registered for UCAS yesterday, for those of you unfamiliar with the British university system UCAS means University and College Admissions Service. So I need to start perfecting my personal statement and grades there’s also 3 different universities I need to go view. At the moment I’m doing my Advanced Professional Chef Diploma Level 3 and I hope to go and study Culinary Arts Management at university. My choices are University College Birmingham, University of West London and Buxton University as they are practically the only universities in the country that actually do the course!

This week I’m in the skills kitchen in college where the level 2s produce stocks and practice knife cuts (brunoise, macedoine, chiffonade, blah blah blah…) and the level 3s practice the more difficult cuts such as turning which involves shaping vegetables such as potatoes and carrots into barrel shapes like so:

Of course like in the photo you can turn most veg as long as its not soft or layered like tomatoes or onions, so beetroot, courgettes or carrots can be turned too.

Yesterday in Skills, I was greeted with a bag of 6 rabbits thankfully without the fur on!

Skills kitchen 16/9/14

After a demonstration we split the rabbit down and took off the shoulders and legs for confit later. I must share these though:

Skills kitchen 16/9/14

Basically these are a rack of rabbit ribs, in concept of how ridiculously small they are it’s kind of unethical to even try and make “ribs” with rabbit but I have to admit they do look very cute and impressive especially if they are pan fried and served as an amuse bouche or hor deurve.

With the saddle piece of rabbit we rolled pieces of black pudding and wrapped them up in the saddle like a ballotine, ready to be poached in it’s own stock. We never did get time in the end to confit the rabbit but I did that this morning instead.

Skills kitchen 16/9/14

Using a deep gastro tray I filled it with around 2.5 litres of sunflower oil and put it on heat straight away to get the oil nice and warm. Whilst that warmed I roughly chopped some onion and garlic then put it in the oil with a small handful of black peppercorns,two bay leaves and a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Needless to say the oil smelt gorgeous before it had even reached a good temperature. Anyway, I didn’t want the oil bubbling away just hot enough that I could still put my finger in it without burning myself then I put the rabbit legs and shoulders in there.

3 hours later and you have nice supple rabbit that very nearly falls off the bone… You can also keep this oil and label it “confit oil” the flavour taken from the vegetables, seasoning and meat will only intensify and improve the flavour of anything you cook in the oil next.

Skills kitchen 16/9/14

On the other side of the kitchen one of the lads had the privilege of filleting this bad boy! That’s a whole Salmon by the way. I also have a lovely picture of a conger eel we got in once that I must share some day.

Skills kitchen 16/9/14

Skills kitchen 16/9/14

Now, I hate vegetarian food but since I got to be involved in making this dish I’ll show it off. This is what we call an Aubergine galette, personally I am not a huge fan but we actually made quite the attractive looking dish.

Skills kitchen 16/9/14

A galette in the tradition sense is a slice of puff pastry with vegetable or fruit layered on it. Here we use galette as a term to mean to layer vegetables on top of one another in a tall circular mould for the effect of height and appearance. Actually composing a galette is very simple and easy to do, preparing it though is a long process.

Here we have thinly sliced Aubergine and griddled it. This is me taking the picture from the front of the lecturer’s hob and that’s the girl I was working with on the other side (team work!), we literally lit up the gas hob, put the griddle over and it worked out pretty well.

Skills kitchen 16/9/14

Skills kitchen 16/9/14

We should probably have griddled the courgette too but we forgot somehow, we also forgot to sweat off the diced onion or put them in! You may be asking, what sort of chef are you?! But that’s students for you too busy having fun sometimes…

Yes, we made the hungry caterpillar.


Anyway back to being mature about things we layered the galette when were ready. We layered it with griddled aubergine at the bottom, courgette slices, pureed aubergine, skinned beef tomato, mozzarella and then finished with basil and mozzarella breadcrumbs. Then put in the oven for 25-35 minutes at 140 centigrade.

Skills kitchen 16/9/14

By the way a lot of moisture comes out of the bottom which can look a mucky brown, this doesn’t really matter too much just don’t get any on the plate you’re serving up on.

Skills kitchen 16/9/14

No you shouldn’t actually use your fingers to clean your plate for presentation but it was ours to taste so it’s acceptable 😉

For the garnish on the galette Georgie porgie prepared a julienne of carrots and leeks and took them into the production kitchen to be fried for a crispy texture. He also made a fennel dressing to accompany the dish…

Skills kitchen 16/9/14

Skills kitchen 16/9/14

Et voila!

Skills kitchen 16/9/14

Of course this could be improved with other variations of ingredients and flavours as I’m not a aubergine or courgette fan I must admit. Anyway do with this idea what you will 🙂

Got to go now. There will be more from me ❤ watch this space! x


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