mastery of cooking

Ready, Steady, Cook

Posted in dinners, mastery of cooking on March 9th, 2016 by Kevin – 1 Comment

When leaving the last Sunday session of the Mastery of Cooking programme, each participant was handed a bag of ingredients, and instructed by Jean Torné to plan and create a meal based on these elements, in an exercise which recalled the popular TV series ‘Ready, Steady, Cook.’

‘A few peas, some watercress, 2 potatoes, 1 avocado or half a zucchini, one leek, some herbs, an orange, a piece of fennel. Create a dish from these ingredients. Cook it. Serve it to your partner or family or to one another and ask them how they received it.’

The invitation was to take part in this process, to observe one’s own participation, to assess (and be assessed) on the results.

And so, I made a ‘Rock pool’ style clear broth soup, inspired by a soup we cooked during an earlier session. The base was a vegetable stock I’d made earlier, which I infused with the Kombu and fresh herbs. (Thyme, Bay Leaf, Rosemary). I cut the Cauliflower into small florets, cubed the Potatoes, and carefully cut the Leek Whites into strips. I blanched all these ingredients separately. I made a Pesto  with Watercress, Basil, Coriander and Pine Nuts (left over from a previous cooking session). I served the soup in a shallow bowl with a few Watercress leaves on top, and some dabs of pesto. I made a pressed fennel salad with Pear and dill, served with an Orange Vinaigrette on a bed of sliced Avocado. This was plated up with some Short Grain Brown Rice, and some Tofu chips marinaded with Sweet white Miso, Rice Vinegar, then pan-fried.

As for the assessment: (I ate the meal alone) I was pleased with the soup. Initially the broth had a strong taste of Rosemary (probably a bit much to use as an infused herb) but the whole dish was balanced out when I added the veg, the pesto, and the watercress leaves. It was a little cold by the time I ate it. I liked the ‘half submerged veg’ presentation but it didn’t make for a particularly large dish – more of a starter. The pesto was a real winner, and helped to balance the flavour of the soup, as well as adding a touch of intrigue to the dish. A suitable ‘Algal’ accompaniment to the Rock Pool.

I was really happy with the pressed Fennel Salad, in combination with the avocado. I added the dill leaves far too early so they became a bit wilted and lost their vibrant colour. In future, I would add these right at the last minute, as a garnish. The marinaded tofu was delicious. Again, this was a small dish, more of a starter. But it worked well in combination with the short grain rice.

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Bean, Vegetable and Kale Stew

Posted in autumn, concord institute, courses, mastery of cooking on November 2nd, 2015 by Kevin – 3 Comments

A hearty Bean, Vegetable and Kale Stew – prepared after completing an online session with Jean as part of the Mastery of Cooking course last week. A mix of Cannelini and Pinto Beans, pressure cooked with Bouquet Garni. Onions, Leeks, Carrots, Swede and Pumpkin diced and cooked in Ghee with a drop lid. Beans and Vegetable Stock added. Cooked further, then transferred tothe oven for more slow cooking – 2hrs at 170. Kale blanched separately, and added towards the end. Some seasoning, and a small amount of Tamari to finish. Served with a Sauteed Brussel Sprout, Lambs Lettuce and Pomegranate Salad, and Toasted Sourdough with Olive Oil, Rosemary and Sea Salt. Sour Cream and Parmesan shavings round it all off. Images thanks to Nicky Clinch.

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Autumn Harvest

Posted in concord institute, courses, mastery of cooking on October 20th, 2015 by Kevin – 1 Comment

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Day two of the weekend Mastery of Cooking course. An array of organic and locally sourced autumn produce to choose from to create the Sunday lunch.

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Including these delightful ‘Harlequin’ Pumpkins.

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We set to work on a batch of recipes, cooking on and off piste in our groups. Picking up a few tips here and there – including a new way to fashion a bouquet garni using some leek greens and a length of string.

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And, here’s the result. Chickpea and Vegetable Stew, topped with sauteed Black Carrots and crispy Sage, Panfried Millet, Oven baked Harlequin Pumpkin, and a spontaneous addition to the menu, Roasted Blue Cauliflower on a bed of caramelised Red Onions. A sprinkle of Parsley to finish.

Ready, steady, cook

Posted in concord institute, courses, mastery of cooking on October 19th, 2015 by Kevin – 1 Comment

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The opening weekend of the Mastery of Cooking programme, and we are set a challenge of preparing an autumnal meal from a range of ingredients. Here’s the result: Long Grain Brown Rice and Red Rice, Brussel Sprouts sauteed with Shallots, Puy Lentils with Sundried Tomatoes, Braised Carrots with Star Anice, Zucchini Ribbons with Mandarin and Chilli, with Carrot Top Tempura as a garnish.

Self Portrait: Fridge

Posted in concord institute, courses, mastery of cooking on October 19th, 2015 by Kevin – 1 Comment

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Day 1 of the Mastery of Cooking class with Jean Torné, and we are asked to reveal all… the whole class was asked to provide an impromptu snap-shot of the state of our fridge. All-in-all mine was in a reasonable state, with old goods cleared out and produce reasonably well cared for. Apart, that is, from one serious transgression: the presence of a half onion on the second shelf. Onions attract germs of all descriptions, which make them fantastic when scattered around the house if you are suffering from colds/flus, but not so good sitting in the fridge. The smell can also permeate and affect other foods. Lesson learned, this creature has been discarded.