Fish, fish, fish. We love fish at Northampton College.
In fact, we love fish so much that my tutor asked us to make a vichyssoise (which actually isn’t fish at all), prawn bisque (ew) and clam chowder (bigger ew). Don’t get me wrong I love fish but fish soup is not something I’d kill for.
It took us 1 hour and a half to make these. The prawn bisque (middle soup) was probably the best one I made as my tutor said it was almost “classic textbook”, I was chuffed to hear that needless to say. But I asked my tutor “have you ever, out of the blue just thought ‘hm, you know what I fancy? A prawn bisque.’?” His answer was “You know what, I never have. No.”
I know I never have, in fact the smell alone whilst cooking it made me feel a little bit unsettled.
I’m sorry, as a chef I should probably be telling you about the rich fish flavour and how it’s so lovely that it’s finished off with cream. But I feel it’s also my duty not to lie or pretend about my own personal preferences.
So, I do like fish but not rammed down my throat in liquid form.
Talking of being forced to eat things. We got to have the pleasure of breaking open these fresh oysters, it’s a real pain in the backside. It’s just how it looks, you’re practically breaking and entering this mollusc because it’s clamped shut.
Then to top it off I got dared to eat one fresh. It wasn’t bad but it was in need of seasoning as it was like eating a salty tongue.
Fish definitely looks AND tastes better cooked. This pan fried sea bass was made by a level 2 (Tom) it comes with a fish veloute, new potatoes, tomato concasse and crispy leeks for garnish. It tasted as beautiful as it looks.
This perfectly rolled Omelette by Julie-Ann and Sam contains prawns and chives. It was supposed to have smoked haddock but surprise surprise the fish delivery people messed up again.
Rolled omelette is a bit of a skill to make as it is supposed to be colourless and also slightly under cooked when you take it out of the pan.
What this tutorial sadly doesn’t mention is the fact that a skilled chef should be able to cook this omelette in 20-30 seconds to a baverse state which means the egg should look “snotty” or in other words half cooked but not quite set. At that point you should roll into a ‘cigar’ shape in the pan before transferring to a plate. Also, in this tutorial she puts a lid on the omelette, instead the technique we use of rolling it straight off the pan means that the residual heat cooks the rest of the egg without overcooking it. The result is a lovely delicate omelette.
The customers were impressed and said that they loved the butter sauce we put with it. There was no butter sauce but where we had cooked using butter it had mixed with the moisture from the egg and had created a lovely sauce that oozed from the omelette. Sometimes accidents are the most beautiful things.
Read this fantastic article to get a feel for the history and how to make a “perfect omelette” it’s worthwhile.
We love Real Big Fish, no not the ska band. But we do have a habit of getting in some massive fish.
I already showed you the Salmon from the beginning of the year in skills.
But this is my all time favourite mess up by the guys who deliver the fish to the college. It’s kind of like when you order asparagus from Tesco home delivery and they have none in stock so they improvise by giving you something random like a bar of chocolate!
I can’t remember what it was that the college supposedly ordered in, it might have been Sea Bass or some large fish. Whatever it was, they didn’t have it in stock so they gave us Conga Eel instead?! So random. The 2 fillets were like nothing I’ve ever seen before. You could feed a village.
This picture was taken from Ben’s instagram. He was in my class last year hope he doesn’t mind.