Archive for March, 2012

Meringue Cuite, beloved by chefs due to it’s ability to keep it’s shape. It’s extremely stable and can be left out for hours without disintegrating, does not swell in the oven but is chalkier and more powdery than swiss meringue. Meringue Cuite is cooked meringue and requires a lot of whisking over a pan of hot water to get it to the desired stage – absolutely stable with no movement at all. It’s therefore ideal for making piped baskets and shapes, even if it isn’t as nice to eat.

When was the last time you saw the classic meringue cuite recipe; meringue basket? So long ago that I’ve failed to find an image of one through Google. I wasn’t that keen to make one in our creative meringue cuite session, but what to do with it instead? A search for “meringue cuite” came back with very few responses save a few seals and an albino hedgehog – I assume ‘cute’ was meant. But I had decided on an exotic fruit soup, and realising this might look like a lake I resurrected an old classic:

From swans to ducks. This was one of the most delicious things we cooked last week –  caramelised duck breast with honey and ginger, served with rice noodles, chili, coriander, spring onions, sesame seeds and lime.



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Quite a few weeks seem to have passed since my last post. I’m not entirely sure where the time has gone except to say it has been rammed packed. Week 7 started with our first full day in the kitchen. Seven hours baking delicious Chelsea buns, making pate sucree and creme patisserie for individual fruit tarts, steak with Bearnaise sauce, rosti potato and tenderstem broccoli and espagnole sauce ready for a madeira sauce to go with rose veal the following day. It was tiring and my feet ached by the end of it but it was great to be in the kitchen for the whole day and get more of a taste for what it will really be like.

We have had the opportunity to flex our creative muscles where a little like Masterchef we are presented with a load of ingredients to turn into a culinary masterpiece but, unlike Masterchef we have days rather than 20 minutes to think about what we are going to do. In creative lamb I cooked lamb steaks marinated in Chermoula, a butterbean and caramelised onion puree, roasted red peppers and wilted spinach which was described as a very flavoursome plate (whoop!). I didn’t have the chance to take a photo but next time I cook it I shall post my recipe.

What I have photographed is my genoise commune cake smothered in coffee buttercream.

But this is no ordinary butter cream. For this very smooth, rich and exceptionally buttery butter cream, a creme anglais is made which is then mixed with butter and flavoured with coffee, chocolate or whatever takes your fancy. It’s a lot more faff that an ordinary butter cream but the smooth result justifies the extra effort for a special cake.

The birthday boy certainly enjoyed it!

Leiths Coffee buttercream

170g sugar
225ml milk
3 egg yolks
170g salted butter
170g unsalted butter
coffee essence to taste

Gently bring the milk and half the sugar to the boil.

Beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar.

When the milk has come to the boil, pour it on to the egg mixture and mix well. Return the mixture to the saucepan and stir over a low heat without boiling until slightly thickened. To test it has reached the correct consistency, coat the back of a wooden spoon with the mixture and run your finger up the back. If you rock the spoon from side to side the line should remain. Once thickened strain into a bowl and leave to cool.

Beat the butter until creamy and gradually whisk the custard mixture in to it. Flavour with coffee essence

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