Fish Dishes – A Test Of Skill
So I was getting changed in the locker room when ‘Va’ and and ‘J’ came in to put their stuff away in their lockers. We all said our good mornings and that’s when ‘Va’ announced that we will be tested on our fish skills today…. Oh great.
It’s been months since we did fish… Our 3rd week was fish and we haven’t done any practice since and now we have to do it allover again with no help while we are tested! I wasn’t great at boning, filleting and skinning fish if I remember and so I had to use a whole fish to prove my skills have improved to be able to progress further…
I asked them to let our Chef/Teacher know I was here. I got changed shoved my stuff in the locker and headed into the kitchen. the past few weeks since we have been back from Christmas I have had to either wear the paper hats which fall off all the time or the hair nets… I can’t find my chef skull cap anywhere and I don’t know why… I did order a new one but was too large…
This time round preparing the fish I found a bit more relaxed…I wasn’t squeamish like I was the last time and I feel I did a pretty good job!
Once the fillets were ready it was time to make Poached Plaice Paupiettes with White Wine Sauce and Lemon garnishes.
I had to slice prawns in half and then place them on a fillet. I rolled the fillet up into a Paupiette. After I had repeated it with all 4 I then had to place them in a pan and chopped some dill stalks and placed them in the pan with the Paupiettes and filled half way with water.
Once the pan was in the oven I had to make the white wine sauce. I very finely diced up the dill leaves and set them aside for later. I placed white wine in a pot and added a finely diced onion to the wine and placed on a high heat to reduce.
Once reduced down to a 2/3 of the way I then add white stock and cream and a little bit of corn starch and water. I mix and then leave to reduce some more. Once at the right consistency that I want, I pass through and set aside…
When the Paupiettes are poached and the prawns are pink I then put the sauce back on the heat to warm up and add the finely diced dill leaves. I then plate up the Paupiettes and spoon the sauce over them in a neat fashion. I then cut up a lemon to add as a garnish.
Now it’s time to make Parma Ham wrapped Cod with Ratatouille. As a team we all chopped up peppers, courgettes, eggplants/aubergines, tomatoes, onion and garlic cloves. We put it all in a big pot and mixed it in with some seasoning herbs and put the pot on a high heat and stirred occasionally to soften and gently brown the ingredients…
We each chose a cod fillet and had to skin it. We wrapped the cod in parma ham and then seasoned with salt and pepper on both side. Added a little oil to a cast iron pan and let it heat up. Once sizzling I put the parma ham wrapped cod on one side of the pan and let it cook til it coloured nicely then flipped to the other side of the pan and immediately put the pan in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
Once it’s time, I used my tea towel to take my cast iron pan out of the oven and on the work surface. I needed some tongs to pick the cod up so went to the utensil shelf to get one. I also wanted a different plate to dish up so went to the restaurants kitchen to choose a small oblong plate.
I went back to my pan and as I went to pick the cod up with my tongs it moved the pan towards me (the handle was facing me and was about to poke my stomach) so I grabbed the handle and turned the pan out of the way not realising I hadn’t picked up my tea towel first and burned my palm and fingers and tips!
I run my hand under a cold running tap instantly but the pain is searing! I have burned my self a few times here and there but not this extreme! I went back and plated up my cod on the plate and then used a round cutter to shape my ratatouille. I then had to put my dish on the demo bench with everyone else so we can seethe differences… I was the only one to forget to fry the skin! (After skinning the cod I threw mine away – force of habit?)
The rest of the time in class I had to keep my hand in a bowl of cold water… Not much you can do for a burn really… My Chef/Teacher came to check it and asked if I wanted first aid to look at it but he also said not much they could do as the college isn’t liable to treat with burn gel as that is something we were told to get ourselves and bring in case of a burn…
As we know I haven’t burned myself at all since I have started college and have only cut myself once but with a grater! But now I will be looking for some burn gel just in case… But lets hope it doesn’t happen again though! I was in agony ALL day!
I was told by my Chef/Teacher that if I had left my hand on the cast iron pan a couple of seconds longer it would have blistered all my hand and I would have had to go to hospital! (I wasn’t worried about me though, I was worried about my kids – more on that on another post soon to come….)
Everyone was mixing all the diced fish we had diced at the beginning of the class (salmon, smoked haddock, cod and plaice) They mixed in some herbs and minced mash. (We used this weird mincing machine that you churn to mash baked potatoes easily and looks like rice on the other end.)
I tried to be useful and at least do my washing up which has piled out of the sink… Bit tricky with one hadn’t but I did it even though ‘J’ kept telling me she would do it but she already had her own overfilled sink full of washing up to do and I still have one hand I can use.
‘M’ Then came over and offered to help me and made a start of drying up for me when I didn’t mind having help on because it would help speed it up a bit. Once done I then headed over to where ‘J’ was now flouring, egging and bread crumbing the shaped fish cakes.
I decided to do the final shaping with the cookie cutter after the bread crumbing. You only need one hand to do that really so I did that and then popped them on the tray layer upon layer. Once done we all got to choose two fishcakes and then deep fat fry them til just about golden brown. I placed my two on a crescent dish and presented like so. Turned out quite well I think!
After all the food we had done was in the tins to take home we then had to fill in our folders – yet again I am behind on my photo evidence and need to include my CV – although that needs to be updated. We then went through the events that we would or would not be able to do… I can’t do the dining in the dark unfortunately… But I may have hope for the London hospitality showcase because the date was for 7th March not 7th February! We shall see….
Before I left we had to make sure we knew how many of us were gonna go to that dinner event… it looks like its just me, ‘Va’ and ‘M’ which is fine because I like them and I am sure we will have a good time! 🙂 I filled in the first aid report book and asked my Chef/Teacher for a order form for a new hat because I am so fed up of the hair net and no point in a paper hat if it keeps falling off! Then I headed off to get my stuff and get changed in the changing rooms.
Up in the changing rooms ‘Va’ asked if my hand still hurts which it was…. Constant agony really! She offered me some burn gel for it…. She could have offered it a couple of hours ago when the burn had happened! I thanked her and took it. I had to go down to get a rubber glove so that once my burns were covered in gel the glove was to keep it on.
I then headed home in pain which didn’t stop till the next day! My legs were achy from standing on them all day and I was very tired fro the pain I was in. Next week we are doing hot and cold desserts – Should be; Jam Sponge, Banana Fritter and Choc Barrel or so I could make out that was written on the board.
Wednesday 31st is the dinner event and I have already hooked out the dress I was thinking of, will wear the new boots I have been wearing and have to decide on how to have my hair… Might even put some make up on for once. (Rare)
Thanks for reading 🙂
x Emz x