Getting back to baking….

My last blog post at the start of February seems an age ago now - a lot has happened on the course since then, but a bout of Covid put me out of action for a while, in terms of the practical elements of the course anyway!

I kept up with the theory as much as possible while at home, with the college kindly supporting me to get caught up on the practical side during the skills sessions, now that I have been able to return. I was sad to have missed out on what looked like a lot of fun technical learning, but I am relieved I have been able to re-join my classmates again.

We have now moved on from the Hot, Cold and Frozen Desserts unit to Biscuits, Cakes and Sponges. I will soon be making an Opera Cake which was one I missed – a French cake made with Jaconde sponge (almond) soaked in coffee syrup and sometimes rum, French buttercream and chocolate ganache. It’s French patisserie heaven. Here is an example - I did not make this!

My first session back in the kitchen was in a supervisory role, where students take it in turns to oversee the desserts service for the college restaurant, Chefs’ Whites Restaurant. Acting as supervisor involves completing paperwork to prove the necessary safety precautions are being taken, ensuring the chefs are ready for when service starts with all the dish elements prepared, knowing how many dishes are required, communicating any dietary needs, supporting the chefs as necessary during preparation and service, then making sure the kitchen is cleaned thoroughly after service with all foods labelled and stored appropriately. Overall I felt it went well, with the guests receiving the dishes they had ordered in good time, well presented and to the correct specifications, with all allergen and dietary requirements adhered to.

The Health & Safety assignment was finally handed in with a final grade imminent, while in the meantime we have moved onto our next big assignment – Exploring Gastronomy.

We have a number of parts to complete for this assignment, the first being to explore the food culture and gastronomy of a chosen country or region. We have to select one dish associated with that country or region and suggest a complimentary beverage. We then have to do a presentation and cook the dish. I have chosen my home region of Suffolk!

I own some wonderful traditional Suffolk cookbooks and have selected Suffolk Fourses Cake, a fruit loaf traditionally served with Sugar Beer and served to workers during harvest time. I am really looking forward to delving into the history of the region I grew up in and learning more about my home county.

There are other exciting things coming up on the course, including new menus in the restaurant, such as 'A Night with Adam Spicer' who came to see us during Enrichment Week. There is a dining experience booked for us to attend at the highly acclaimed Benedicts in Norwich, with a trip out for afternoon tea also being arranged to give us an insight into different types of dining....if the college want to take us out for fancy meals, I am certainly not going to decline!

I am looking forward to these upcoming events, getting caught up on the patisserie skills I missed and most importantly – eating cake!!