Day 51 – Sousing and Strawberries

Today I made : Soused mackerel. Sousing – cooking in vinegar – is a method of preservation. Very medieval Scandinavian. Not something I would order myself, but a good way to practise filleting fish, and I think the shiny silver skin is beautiful, like a slinky disco dress.

Strawberry tart. I used Friday’s puff pastry dough for the case, filled it with pastry cream and topped it with redcurrant jelly glazed strawberries, fresh from the farm. My teacher corrected my amateur vocabulary and told me real chefs call it creme pat. I loved its shiny glossy finish.


I attempted chocolate torsades with my leftover scraps. The kitchen was very crowded today and oven space was at a premium so I rushed these. But still, I was distraught by their appearance. I don’t like failure or ugly desserts.


Lemon Curd. I needed to tick it off my technique list and I LOVE lemon curd. It is one of my top three favourite spreadable substances.


In the afternoon demo Rory made some amazing cakes, and shared his opinions on the subject. ‘I don’t need cake, so if I’m going to eat it it has to be fantastic.’ Don’t waste your time on mediocre cake, and if you are a baker putting your heart and soul into your creations don’t be afraid to charge a decent amount of money.  I agree 100% but I will always love Colin the Caterpillar.

I learned : Microplanes  may not be as amazing as I thought. Rory recommends a conventional box grater for Parmesan. He says it produces more flavourful flakes of cheese. He left some out for us to compare and contrast. He’s not wrong but I still love my Microplane. If you don’t have one, get one! It definitely does a better job for citrus zest. It’s also good if you are counting calories because it gives a lot of volume to a small amount of cheese.


Food of the day : Grilled aubergines with tomatoes and Macroom mozzarella.

Line of the day : ‘It won’t look right. Keep the faith.’ Rory was talking about cake batter but what a metaphor for life!