Wednesday, 14 February 2007

le cordon bleu - day 9 + happy valentine's day

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I hope everyone spent the day with something sweet and nice to remember :D For myself, I spent another day making bread and of all days, today happened to be the healthy bread; wholemeal as well as pepita (or seeded) bread. Quite a different day to yesterday; we ended up skipping lunch to get everything baked and out of the oven so we could leave half an hour before our usual finish time. I reckon I'm a bit of a master at making bread now but really, just glad that the week of bread is over (I've been told that I'm really starting to look like a panda now - do pandas eat bread??) I've been told that about 300 chocolates are on the agenda for the next week as well as one of my favourites; florentines. Next week is definitely one to look forward to. (Actually we did spend this afternoon piping chocolate...the chef insisted cause we finished too early. lol...most of us got so bored we ended up piping the chocolate into our was yummy!)

And well, after a week of making bread, I got to say I'm awfully amazed at how much I've achieved. It's definitely not one of Einstein's equations or some really complicated mathematical formula to further science, but just new kitchen skills for me and some new knowledge about the food I eat. I think my family has benefited greatly from the mounds of bread I've brought home every day and I've really got to thank my relo's for helping us out in that respect. It's an awfully good thing to have teenage boy cousins cause they eat bread like they eat chips. Thanks Bernard and Andrew for your compliments as well as help in eating all the bread :D

Anyway, so when I got home today, I thought I'd compare a loaf of store bought bread and one of my 500g loaves I made in class. It was crazy how big a difference there was. The store bought one was slightly heavier but size-wise, it was so much bigger and airier compared to the loaves I baked. They really rort you on ingredients for the $3.50 or so you pay for a loaf of bread. In saying that, it's not like I'm going to be kneading bread on a daily basis just to get my nice bread but man, the baking this week has really got me to think about what really goes into the baked products that we buy from outside.

So how did I spend the rest of Valentine's Day? J came over for dinner tonight and I made a Chicken and Creamy Bacon Heart Pasta for everyone. Mum managed to find this cute pack of heart pasta when she was shopping at Aldi. I'm actually quite keen on visiting Aldi some day; mum seems to always return home with all these interesting goods which I've never seen before. The shame was that the hearts started to break as I was cooking the pasta; surely not a bad omen on today? Anyhow, keeping on the theme of hearts, I managed to find these cute heart baking molds when I went shopping for a scraper for the florentines we're making next week. One of the guys in my class was complaining how we don't make muffins in our course and that prompted me to dig out one of the Donna Hay recipes for a blueberry muffin which I'd been intending to make for some time. They turned out quite well but still a bit short of how I'd like them to taste - some of the ones you buy outside seem to use rice flour which gives it that crumbly texture; think I'll try that next time.

One kitchen trick I also picked up was that Blueberry juice stains on your hands can be removed with a little bit of lemon juice. So glad for it! For those who might be using frozen blueberries in your baking, keep this one handy!


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