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Mini Chef – 12 Oct 2019

Hi Mini Chefs

This week our Mini Chefs will be making – Prawn, Mango, Apple & Sweet Potato Curry

As it is National Curry Week our Mini Chefs will showcase their kitchen skills and cook up a curry feast! Giving us an excuse to enjoy the nation’s favourite dish!

The first National Curry Week took place in 1998

Celebrated each October it applauds the diverse culture in the UK and as a result of this, the many delicious dishes available to us on a daily basis.

National Curry Week has three main aims:

1. Honour the nation’s favourite cuisine.

2. Celebrate the burgeoning Indian restaurant industry.

3. Raise money for poverty focused charities.

#NationalCurryWeek

Donations can be made at http://curryforchange.org.uk/donate making a difference to the lives of families across Asia and Africa.

This is a really tasty curry dish and the mango and apple adds an extra special fruity flavour with a sweet taste to make this a truly delicious curry that children can make and enjoy to.

Making it a perfect introduction to curry and mild spices.

In this week’s dish we will be using the following skills:

Weighing, measuring, peeling, chopping, boiling/simmering and frying.

See you Saturday Mini Chefs.

Junior Chef – 12/13 Oct 2019

This week our Junior Chefs will be making – Chicken Jalfrezi 

As it is National Curry Week our Mini Chefs will showcase their kitchen skills and cook up a curry feast! Giving us an excuse to enjoy the nation’s favourite dish!

The first National Curry Week took place in 1998

Celebrated each October it applauds the diverse culture in the UK and as a result of this, the many delicious dishes available to us on a daily basis.

National Curry Week has three main aims:

1. Honour the nation’s favourite cuisine.

2. Celebrate the burgeoning Indian restaurant industry.

3. Raise money for poverty focused charities.

#NationalCurryWeek

Donations can be made at http://curryforchange.org.uk/donate making a difference to the lives of families across Asia and Africa.

Chicken Jalfrezi is all about big flavours and tops the list as one of the UK’s favourite curries, with tender, juicy chunks of chicken in a spicy tomato sauce studded with stir-fried onions and peppers.

The key to the smoky taste is to blister the green pepper skin when stir frying. Onions and green pepper go in to hot oil and cook until the onion turns brown.

The dish requires a lot of prep but less cooking time.

Chicken Jalfrezi doesn’t have a long tradition in India. It was a dish developed by cooks of the British Raj as a way to use up leftovers using a cooking technique introduced by the Chinese. Instead of the braising the chicken and peppers together for hours like most curries, the ingredients for Jalfrezi are quickly stir-fried which preserves the flavour and texture of the peppers and onions.

We will add a secret ingredient, Nigella seeds. The spice is often mis-named black caraway, black cumin or black onion seeds. It has an anise-like flavour with hints of onion, but Nigella Sativa is unrelated to caraway, cumin or onion. They add a wonderful fresh herbal flavour that takes this dish to a whole new level.

In this week’s dish we will be using the following skills:

Weighing, measuring, peeling, chopping, crushing, boiling/simmering and stir frying/ roasting/browning.

See you at the weekend Junior Chefs.

Teen Chef – 5 Oct 2019

This week our Teen Chefs will be making – Prosciutto Wrapped Cod with a Lemon Cream Sauce served with Pea & Mint Pesto Spaghetti

Cod is an extremely versatile ingredient with a subtle flavour and pearly white flesh which is complimented beautifully by Italian salt-cured ham – Prosciutto.

We will be serving this with a pea & mint pesto.  Pesto is a process of pounding fragrant ingredients to make an aromatic sauce that shares an affinity with pasta.  Ours will be a little different to the way pesto is usually prepared, we will be adding leek for extra depth of flavour.  In addition, there are also no nuts in this pesto giving it a smoother texture.

We will top the dish with a cream sauce that is tangy, buttery and creamy.  The base of this sauce will be a velouté which is one of the five mother sauces of classical cuisine.  Like béchamel, velouté is thickened with a roux. Whereas béchamel has milk as its base, velouté is made with stock.  We will be finishing our sauce with cream and lemon juice, making it similar to that of a Supreme sauce but ours will be served on top of our fish thicken enough to hold its shape.

Skills used this week include:
Boiling, draining, blending, mixing, making a roux, making a veloute, whisking, zesting, juicing, wrapping, roasting.

See you Saturday Teen Chefs.

Junior Chef 21/22 Sept 2019

This week our Junior Chefs will be making – Creamy Chicken Alfredo with Garlic, Parmesan & Leeks

This is a classic pasta dish when made from scratch is delicious.

We will be searing our chicken until golden and combining it through a super creamy garlic parmesan alfredo sauce, with the pasta cooked within the dish.  The sauce will be made from a base of chicken juices, butter and leeks. Chicken stock and double cream will be added and then simmered down to a rich consistency. Chicken breast adds some necessary protein and parmesan cheese adds to the creamy factor as well as bringing a welcome salty, tangy element to the dish.

This week we will be looking at leeks, it is one of the few vegetables that are at their best during the autumn months.  It is packed with nutrients and crucial anti-oxidants.

Available (September to November) the British leek is a fantastically versatile vegetable that adds flavour and bite to many dishes.

Leeks are from the same family as onion and garlic they are an allium vegetable.

What to look for when buying; is a leek that is nice and firm, they can be cooked in many ways, steamed, stir fried and can be used in lots of dishes like soups and casseroles.

Two techniques we will be focussing on this week will be sweating and searing.

The purpose of sweating is to draw moisture out, concentrating the flavour and enhancing conversion from starch to sugar. Cooking the onions in this way releases their aroma and reduces the bitterness they exhibit when raw. Cooking at a low heat, the onions will become soft and translucent any emitted liquid will evaporate. 

Searing is a technique used in grilling, sautéing, etc., in which the surface of the food is cooked at high temperature until a browned crust forms on the outside before finishing at a lower temperature.  Our chicken will be cooked in this way to give us added flavour.

Skills used this week include:

Searing, sweating, cutting, shredding, slicing, pan frying, deglazing, reducing, simmering, squeezing.

Teen Chef – 14 Sept 2019

By request – this week we will be making – Beef Stroganoff.

A dish of sautéed beef, in a piquant creamy sauce.  The onions adding sweetness, as a counterpoint to the tangy cream and the mushrooms giving it a savoury depth.

The dish dates back to the mid, 19th century, and is named after a member of the Stroganov family, who were a group of highly successful Russian merchants and landowners: the richest businessmen in Tsarist Russia.

The first known recipe shows up in the mid 1800’s in a Russian cookbook.  It became an iconic dish especially in the US however the dishes image became tarnished by those pouring canned cream of mushroom soup over poor cuts of meat.

The best cut to use in beef stroganoff is a cut that works well with quick cooking. That means you need something that is tender to start with that you cut across the grain to further tenderise.

In Russia, you will most often find traditional beef stroganoff served over fried shoestring potatoes (French fries). In the US with pasta and the UK, with rice.  All as a way, to soak up the delicious sauce.

The key to a good Stroganoff is the steak an expensive ingredient and thus important to get the cooking technique right, making this a key focal point of this week’s class.

Points to consider;

type of pan to use

when to season

length of cooking

resting time

One of the most important things to remember is the need to remove steak from the fridge at least an hour before cooking this allows the meat to cook much more evenly, resulting in a better finish. An optimum thickness for a steak is between 3cm and 4cm, any thinner results in overcooking.

Season liberally just before it goes in the pan, and avoid peppering as it will burn leaving a bitter after taste. Season to far in advance with and you will draw moisture from the steak.

Ensure a heavy based pan gets very hot before the steak goes in, so oil (neutral- no flavour with a high smoking point) is almost smoking, and only cook one steak at a time to avoid loss of heat.

The heat is important in ensuring that the Maillard reaction takes place where the exterior of the meat browns and creates a wonderful roasted flavour.  A knob of butter at the end of cooking will add both richness and flavour.

The length of time you cook your steak completely depends on personal preference. A 3-4cm thick steak cooked from room temperature will take a minute or so on each side with a few minutes in the oven to warm through the middle – the most important thing is to get a good sear on the exterior without overcooking the inside.

Resting time is very important when steak is cooked it needs time for the muscle fibres to relax – cutting into it straight away will result in a loss of moisture and unattractive blood spilling out into your sauce.

It is very hard to achieve any degree browning on slices of meat, so for this recipe we will sear as a steak and then slice after resting.

In this week’s dish we will be using the following skills: Weighing, measuring, chopping, cutting, slicing, mixing/combining, blending, simmering, boiling, straining, searing and resting.

See you Saturday Teen Chefs.