Wednesday once again was an early start, with PT followed by breakfast. Cooking started at 9am with us as the baking team, instructed to make a pineapple upside down cake. The picture in the cookbook was incredible, and each time we looked at the picture we wondered how on earth we would ever make something look half as good. But look what happened, our prayers were answered and after hours in the oven, we turned the cake pan upside down, let the cake fall out… And there it was, an incredibly beautiful pineapple upside down cake. It looked amazing and tasted even better, to the extent that even Mr M complimented us, a rare and wonderful thing at Quest. With the cake we served a home made hot custard, which complimented the golden pineapple like a dream.
Day two put us on main course duty, on the menu and in the cook book was a beef stroganoff made with mushrooms, garlic, cream, onions and slow cooked in a pressure cooker for hours, resulting in tender, flavoursome and juicy meat. While Ethan and Juan focused on making the Beef, Aiden and Tom spent their time prepping an incredible load of potato wedges. These wedges are the kind of things that give people like Tim Noakes sleepless nights, coated in loads of butter, olive oil, garlic and spices. They were to die for. Everybody loved lunch, as the beef and potato didn’t last long… boys and teachers alike sat like kings and ate in silence, except Quinten who sat making 100% sure there were no vegetables in his food, performing surgery on his gravy, extracting all traces of vegetable ‘scum’.
Theory was a vital part of our cooking week, learning the not so obvious things about kitchens and how we should use or not use them. “Clean as you go along” this phrase was drummed into us all day while working in the kitchen, however even though we might not have liked it while working, during theory we learned how important it is to keep your kitchen clean. The amount of bacteria and unhealthy things that can form and breed in just seconds in incredible scary. So, cleaning became a vital part of kitchen work, as did following recipes. One or two of the lads have some good cooking experience, which helped loads when it came to cooking meat and making mince as well many other things. However when it came to making bread and pastries, following the recipe was very important, or it ended up looking and tasting like something out a horror movie. For example, two of the boys added 2 grams of sugar, and 400 grams of baking soda to their short bread mix, if only they had followed the recipe book, they would have realized it was supposed to be the other way around.
My group however, followed our recipe perfectly. Resulting in a lavish, and ravishingly tasty Banana loaf which sent shivers downs men’s spines every time the oven was opened, the smell was inspiring. Dinner was amazing and the bread to finish it off just made the evening so perfect.
We learned so much this week, and I know everyone at Quest is very great full for the opportunity to learn vital life skills. Most of us gents will soon be living on our own at varsity, and this is where all these skills will be useful. Making bread, cooking an omelet, and even cleaning a pot… these are all vital skills that we have learned this week at Quest, and we will have these skills for the rest of our life. And use them every day.