Well this week is a double posting to make up for last Monday’s holiday. I worked through Lessons 12-23 (picking one of the stock lessons 12 -14, and skipping lesson 21 Aspics)… and I’m happy to say that at the completion of these lessons I will be moving on to another cook book. Complete Techniques is an amazing reference guide to French culinary techniques but I find that to really learn something I need to do it in context so it’s time to move on to full recipes! I’ll reveal the next book and lessons at the end of this posting… but don’t skip ahead! It’s bad luck.

So in this, our final series of lesson with Chef Pepin we star with Lessons 12, 13 and 14 – stock, which also play into lessons 15 and 16 skimming. I decided on a Brown stock (lesson 12) because I was interested in the glaze technique. What flavour! My stocks are normally a little bland so that later I can spice them up as soup or whatever I plan to use them in. But this was just lovely!

The skimming was about as easy as it sounds and with the fat gone you know that it will be a little lighter on your waist line. Skimming was also a first for me in this way… normally I make stock, freeze it and then when it thaws I skim the fat that has solidified. It’s the same idea – but you must have time to freeze the stock before using it.

Next we move on to Lessons 19 and 20, butter sauce and hollandaise sauce. Damn I love hollandaise sauce and I can’t believe that until now I have never made it from scratch. So rich, so mouth watering… I’m looking for any excuse to have it again. It may not be good for you, but that’s more than half the reason it’s so good!

Finally after a reading about the importance of butter in French cooking… and lets face it, life in general. We come to lesson 23 – Mayonnaise. I enjoyed this mayo – which is saying something because I normally dislike Dijon mustard in all it’s forms. It’s such a unique and strong taste that I can detect it in most any dish and thus am not a fan. But I feel it really added to the mayo and made the colour just fantastic! Simple, easy and not too many ingredients. Simple cooking at its best.

So with that I am ready to set aside my Complete Techniques cookbook and move on to another. What will it be? Wait for it…

He says it’s his guide to making you a better cook – so let’s find out! I’ve come up with a collection of recipes that I plan to make over the next 6 weeks. So borrow a copy from your library, a friend or dig it out from your crowded cook book shelves and cook along with me! Next week I will be going through the following recipes – don’t feel you need to do them all!

– Baked Lamb Shanks page 162
– Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken page 190
– Chargrilled Tuna page 214
– Gnocchi page 112
– Whole baked carrots page 312
– Potato Rosti page 302
– Raw Beetroot salad page 36
– Best Shortbread in the World page 412

It may look daunting to see it listed out like that… but it’s really not so bad. A salad here, carrots and chicken there. Easy Peasy… I hope!

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