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
3. Raise money for poverty focused charities.
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
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
Weighing, measuring, peeling, chopping, crushing, boiling/simmering and
stir frying/ roasting/browning.
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
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
Skills used this week include: Boiling, draining, blending, mixing, making a roux, making a veloute, whisking, zesting, juicing, wrapping, roasting.
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
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.
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
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;
pan to use
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
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.