What’s the difference between Bernaise and Hollandaise sauces? How do you make choux pastry? What exactly does one have to do to a spud for it to become a fondant potato…?
I call myself a foodie and can lay on a decent dinner party, yet I regularly find myself having to google things that Masterchef contestants are putting on their plates. It struck me one evening last week that between my ‘famous’ fish pie (well, famous among a very small cross-section of immediate friends and family) and triumph in John and Gregg’s hallowed kitchen, there is a gaping void – one filled with jus, confits, and all manner of other tricksy, predominately French elements that I’d have to master if I hope to have a fighting chance on the show. A tasty risotto and moist sponge are only going to get me so far…
Enter this blog, where I intend to chronicle my efforts to extend my kitchen repertoire and get to grips with the more technical aspects of Masterchef-worthy cooking.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not really setting out to win Masterchef here. I know that, ultimately, I’d probably loathe working in a professional kitchen because all the reasons I enjoy cooking – relaxation, sociability, stuffing my face with the results – actually don’t get to happen when you’re knocking out 100 covers in a frenetic, sweaty kitchen twice a day and find yourself sobbing into a pot noodle when you eventually clock off.
But I want to learn the tricks, sharpen up my palate, know the difference between a ‘foam’ and an ‘air’ (not that either of those are really classed as food in my eyes), and treat my friends and family to some cordon bleu confections. And if I could make it through a couple of rounds of Masterchef next year, to create a pudding that makes Gregg shed a tear and John crack a smile, that would be a fantastic finale to the gastronomic marathon upon which I’m about to embark…
Finally, I should also mention that I’m a pescetarian and have zero experience of cooking meat, so tackling a few choice carnivorous dishes will certainly add to the challenge.
I hope you enjoy reading the results, and maybe recreating some of the recipes yourselves. If you have any suggestions of dishes or accompaniments that I should add to my (dauntingly long) list, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.