This morning I was on salad duty. This is one of the more laborious duties – you start an hour early, pick lettuce in the glasshouse and fields, bring it to the kitchen, wash it, remove all the stalks and make dressing. It takes a long time, but I do eat salad every day so it’s only fair I contribute.
Then I made : Lobster Vol Au Vents. This is a decadent recipe that took ALL morning. I had eaten them before so the memory of how amazing they are kept my hope alive. There are many different steps including :
- Kill a lobster. I expected their claws to be shut with rubber bands but they were not. They were alive and squirmy. One of them opened his arms as if he was crying out for help as we put him into the pot. It was like an execution. Mine was female (had roe inside – sorry for the gross pic) so we should have sent her back to the fishermen, but didn’t. Pressed for time.
- Cook the lobster twice – once gently in salt water to lull her to a watery death, and then again in white wine with vegetables and bouquet garni.
- Make hollandaise sauce. This is a warm emulsion sauce, made by slowly whisking butter into egg yolks over a very low heat. High risk of curdling and splitting, thankfully it worked today.
- Make puff pastry. Chill between rollings. Get delayed for 20 minutes when a ‘no fly zone’ is implemented to combat rising refrigerator temperatures, trapping your pastry inside. At long last, shape into vol au vents. Scrape off bottom layer when they burn. Wonder who invented this recipe anyway. Mop brow.
I garnished these with dill flowers and flat leaf parsley and put them on a cute fishy platter. As delicious as they are I doubt I will ever make this recipe again so I wanted them to look presentable.
In the afternoon demo Rory made some fab ice-cream bombes. Very retro, very lavish. Rory likes embellishing over the top desserts like this.
I learned : Michael Pollan has his own tomato. Exams next week. No one specified we have to learn all the tomatoes but the prominent placement of this tray leads me to believe we do.
Food of the day : Lobster Vol Au Vents. All the pain was worth it.
Line of the day : Rory when asked how he learned to style food. ‘Some people are master violinists, and I can’t even play the triangle.’ Everyone is good at something, no one is good at everything.