Ashburton Cookery School Day 16

The beginning of the final week. I can’t believe how fast the course has gone and really wish it could go on a little longer!

It was a funny sort of day today as we spent the afternoon revising theory for Friday’s exam, which I’m feeling slightly stressed about. Less stressed than I am about Wednesday’s ‘mystery box’ day though, when I will have to cook four courses from a selection of as yet unknown ingredients. It’s supposed to be ‘fun’, and I’m trying to look at it like that, but I think I’m lacking a little confidence in my abilities and feeling pretty anxious that what I cook will end up being a disaster!

We got a little practice for Wednesday today with the ‘mystery fish’ lunch we had to prepare. The mystery fish turned out to be mullet, and we were given a selection of ingredients: fennel, chilli, garlic, spring onions, sun-dried tomatoes, herbs and capers, to pull a meal together with. I decided on cooking my fish en papillote (because frying fish scares me…I blame my mother, who has somehow managed to ingrain in my subconscious that frying fish is very difficult and likely to end up going wrong). I added, finely sliced fennel, a little garlic, and lemon slices to my parcel along with the fish and made a salsa out of the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, chilli, spring onions and some parsley. I think it turned out ok.

For our evening meal we made a lamb and apricot tagine with a herb and almond couscous. Tasted great and was nicely comforting, which I welcomed today, although somehow we all managed to add a touch too much chilli!

Dessert was a honey and greek yoghurt panacotta with tuile biscuits, roasted figs and an orange syrup. Panacottas tend to underwhelm me slightly, and while I quite like the texture, I find I get bored of them by the third or fourth mouthful. I did really like the greek yoghurt in this one, however, which leant the dish a clean, fresh taste. Making the tuile biscuits and trying to shape the hot, super thin, straight from the oven biscuits into baskets and springs before they cooled and set was also a lot of fun.

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