Congratulations to Sue, Ros, Mike and Caroline, the winners of my giveaway!
So. On Monday evening 3 1/2 teams fronted up to Westminster Kingsway college to be put through our paces in the Bordeaux Wines blogger cook-off. Unfortunately one guy got stuck at work, leaving one team at half strength and one team was unable to make it at the last minute.
After a reviving glass of pink bubbly (one of the few sparkling wines Bordeaux produces) we were taken through a
lightning-fast tasting of the wines we'd have available to match our dishes to, with the promise that a couple more whites were on offer.
Then it was into the very scary professional kitchen. We were introduced to chefs Jose and Jonathon, and students Margarita and Sam and then we were introduced to our ingredients.
We knew we were cooking salmon, but we hadn't realised that it was going to be lean, dark Atlantic salmon. What the other teams were cooking with was also a
surprise - there was Poulet Noir (fancy
French chicken), whole seabass and Iberico pork (fancy Spanish pig). There
was an array of fresh fruit, veg and herbs (strawberries made an unexpected appearance. I was grateful no one used them) and a selection of dry goods.
After a few minutes contemplation and planning, we got underway with our (overly ambitious) dish. We prepared the salmon three ways - raw, in a sort of ceviche, confit and panfried, and served it with a chervil hollandaise and wilted leeks and spinach.
Unfortunately my dependence on my beloved thermometer bit me on the bum a bit - the kitchen wasn't supplied with one and the oil for the confit was way too hot, so it dried out rather than gently poaching. The panfried fish was also over-cooked. We just couldn't control the heat of the stove properly.
When we'd plated up, one dish went to the judges, the other three back to the other room so we could all taste each other's dishes.
Helen and Katie produced a lovely seabass dish with some lovely Asian flavours and crunchy veg including really delicious mixed mushrooms. The solo contestant (mind is running a blank at the moment, maybe Tom?) turned his black-legged chicken into a classic sauté with a tarragon and mushroom cream sauce. And Clara and Georgi emerged victorious (proper trophies and everything) with their medium-rare Iberico pork with Asian-inspired sweet soy dressing.
It was a fun evening and a great opportunity to meet some other bloggers and it reinforced that I never, ever want to work in a professional kitchen!