Lesson 3 @ Kitchen 10 - Soups, Stocks and Sauces
Monday's lessons were about sauces and derivates and a soup that made mum’s mouth water. Yep. Prawn bisque as I told you when I came home was mouth watering just by itself. And to think the core ingredients are something we chuck in the bin every time there’s prawns in the menu.
The first order of the day was mayonnaise, which we already did with Chef D as one of the lessons in term 1. This time though, it was tackled with precision and detail. Chef S has this to impart about the all important cold emulsion sauce – mayonnaise! The maths for mayonnaise is (drum roll please!):
1 egg yolk
+ 10ml vinegar
+ 100ml oil.
Another tip is to make sure to use good quality vinegar (Chef joked the cheap white variety should only be used for cleaning purposes! – Aargh! I’m a bit hurt as I use that for cooking at home!) and a more neutral fat such as vegetable oil, rather than olive oil. Like all whisking tasks, it was all elbow grease and a lot of triceps work out. Chef said that the mayonnaise becomes lighter in colour with the degree of the whisking, hence food processor or blender made mayonnaise comes out as white because you have that power of 1000 times whisk per second. Mum did her best and made an almost off white coloured mayonnaise which my classmate was so envious off, to which I showed her my stiff aching triceps. I tell you, learning all these is a lot of hard work and sometimes, like learning all new things, you just want to give it all up and take the quick route – maybe buy a jar of mayonnaise from the supermarket!?! But then you have to remember that I always tell you this – it takes patience, hard work and a lot of persistence. And that goes for anything, be it saving for that new laptop, or getting a car, a house, or as domestic as making mayonnaise. A few minutes of patience and the rewards will be far greater. The taste and smell of fresh made mayonnaise is just calming. First you take a few dips and go into deep thought – you’re looking for something to compare it with, maybe that jar you bought a few weeks back. And then you nail it. It tastes just like mayonnaise! And you made it!
Now the easiest part, after you make the mayonnaise is the variety of derivatives you can explore using this as base – tartare sauce, aioli, cocktail sauce! And who knows what else you can invent?!
For tartare sauce, add some capers, gherkins (or pickles), anchovies, squeeze of half a lemon and mix away. The quantity depends on how you want to come out. Add finely chopped parsley in the end for that extra flavour, but add this only as you use it because parsley tends to brown because of the vinegar in the sauce during storage.
Lesson 3 @ Kitchen 10 - Crumbed prawn with tartare sauce
For the cocktail sauce, which is also known as thousand island dressing, just add a dollop of tomato sauce or catsup. Chef suggested a squeeze of orange and some paprika for added character. The ideas are endless. All up to you.
Chef S held the hollandaise sauce as the last lesson for the day in anticipation of the possible mistakes and disasters which can happen when making this sauce – such as the yolks being cooked and scrambled during the whisking process, and a whole lot of other stuff. Mum is yet to be a fan of hollandaise sauce as usually, it is served with eggs Benedict for breakfast, or accompanied by some greens for a meal accompaniment, such as blanched asparagus. Despite the difficulty of making this sauce, Chef gave us some very important tips, which made the class’ attempt A++ in every corner of Kitchen 10.
And the 3 important tips are:
butter should be 45°C,
sabayon* should be 45°C
and should only take 5 minutes to finish product.
We presented the hollandaise as sauce over blanched asparagus.
And for the mouth watering soup - prawn bisque. Bisque is traditionally a creamy soup made of seafood carcasses, such as lobsters, crabs, prawns, balmain bugs. But with the collaboration and fusion of cuisines with contemporary chefs, bisque is now more commonly known as a creamy type of soup.
Lesson 3 @ Kitchen 10 - Prawn bisque
We made the bisque using heads and skins of prawns, sauteed in a pan with some carrots, leeks, celery, onions and some tomato paste. Then processed through a blender and strained through a fine sieve - which results to about a third of the actual mixture. Although it may seem like an inexpensive soup in terms of ingredients (seafood carcasses which can be bought for a song at the seafood market if you're a great negotiator), the process and effort to make one sure as makes up for the price you would pay for a bowl at any upmarket restaurant. Clearly, its one of those dishes that you may well leave up to a commercial kitchen to make. But it does look exquisite, don't you think? And the name! Prawn bisque, if you may please.
*sabayon is a term used in Kitchen 10 which means the egg and liquid mixture (liquid can be water, vinegar, wine etc)