Monday, 12 December 2011

Cookery Courses

When I decided to come to Dubai my friend Lyd talked about doing some cookery courses! This is not something I would think of doing as it's a holiday and I like to wallow on the beach or around a pool with a gin and tonic in my hand. We both searched the internet to find some short courses as I didn't want to spend my whole holiday cooking. With this remit we found a short course on desserts which was run by a company called L'atelier des Chefs where we made pannacotta with oranges and almond crumble, chocolate mousse with an almond crunch and a tiramsu emulsion (for some unknown reason we didn't make the crunch or emulsion and we didn't think about it until we looked it up on the course details later) and a pear tarte tartin with pistachio crème angliase, three things I've never made before as I am more of a savoury person and because it always seemed difficult to make, how wrong I was there.

The course was only 90 minutes long, so I did wonder how we could make so many dishes in such a short time, but it all became clear as we walked in because all the ingredients were weighed out for us and all the dirty dishes were washed for us. This has now caused me an issue as I need someone to come to my house and do all this for me, lazy or what!

The course was very great in teaching me new techniques with each dish. For the pear tarte tartin, we were shown how to prepare the pear (cut in half, remove core and cut on an angle three ways with each half), how to make caramel ensuring you don't burn it (ensure you have the sugar spread evenly around the pan and when melted add the butter). With the custard (crème anglaise) I am used to buying just ambrosia custard in a pack, as it's much easier, again how lazy, but making the custard was surprisingly simple. With the pannacotta we prepared the cream to boil which must been watched at all times so it doesn't burn or boil over which is very easy to do. We then used gelatine which was also new to me, but again very simple to use, why was I so nervous. The easiest dish was the chocolate mousse, as you only need to boil the cream, which we tried earlier. The one thing I did learn about using chocolate was to ensure you use only cooking chocolate because with eating chocolate the makers add extra ingredients that can ruin the texture of the chocolate when melting.

Our chef was very knowledgeable about all the ingredients, his explanation of each recipe was clear and concise and answered on going questions with ease without using complicated cooking terminology. I was also pleased to find out that they run courses in London and will be going to more of them. I do have another course which is Spanish theme and am looking forward to it.

It is great to do something completely different on holiday and I might even look at a cooking holiday at some point in the future. I am also tempted to do a pasta course, as would love to be able to make my own pasta. When I get home I will be doing these recipes again and will write them up then.

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