You wont imagine what happened today. I did not either, till the time it had actually happened. So in school, in Le Cordon Bleu, we have an erratic time-table. The day is divided into four three-hour parts, and the demonstrations or practicals start at 8.30am/ 12.30pm/ 3.30pm or 6.30pm. We mostly have 2-3 classes each day, and one of the three-hour slots is always free. Today, after the morning session , I said good-bye to my friends and stepped out for lunch to come back for the 3.30 class. Whilst sitting peacefully and having lunch like a Parisian, in a cafe at about 2 pm, suddenly I checked my timetable and found that I had class at 12.30! Shoot! I practically ran like a whirlwind to the class, changed into the elaborate uniform (which takes at least 5-7 minutes), and went to the demonstration class.
But it was too late. Most of the stuff was already done. And the school has a very particular rule (quite logical if you ask me on any other day) that if you miss a demonstration, you can’t attend the practical. So I missed two classes out of 40, and just came back home. Yeah, that was very stupid of me. I felt so sad, that I even refused to go shopping with my host and wonderful friend Danielle, once I came back home.
The good part was, the chef just demonstrated two types of cookies, which luckily we wont have to make in the exam. And we are allowed to miss 5 classes in the course. So, I escaped this folly without any major damages. And like my father-in-law said “Every early mistake is a stepping stone to success especially if the mistake was inconsequential.” Well, I truly hope that one helps.
Other than this incident, the classes are going very well. Sometimes, during practicals, some chefs talk only in French, and 90% of the class is baffled. I hate it when that happens. But some Canadians in our class translate parts of it into English and we manage.
The amazing thing about the school is that they teach some brilliant techniques. Later on, we can modify and experiment with it, to our liking. For instance, there is this Choux pastry technique, which is super easy once you get the texture of the dough right. And it is hollow in the center once baked, so that you can fill in either chocolate pastry, or cheese and onions, or add some savory mix in the dough before cooking. There are numerous possibilities. Once I return back home, I promise to experiment and give you guys full-proof recipes.
Here is a photo of the choux pastry in the form of a St. Honoré (a choux pastry cake with Chantilly cream). Its made in class, and you can still see my name tag on the top left corner.
For now, the comforting smell of cinnamon and the makes-everything-feel-better chocolate is going to give me company while I drink a Cinnamon hot chocolate. And just because I don’t want you to feel left out of the cinnamon-chocolate goodness, and a quick remedy for those days which don’t look that good, I am sharing a quick-fix chocolate-chip cinnamon swirl cake recipe. Had I not been making two-desserts-a-day at school, I was sure to bake some today. It’s very soothing.
Cinnamon chocolate chip loaf cake recipe
What you will need:
- 250 gms all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 120 gm semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 large egg (at room temperature)
- 150 gms light brown or dark brown sugar
- 50 gm regular granulated sugar
- 240 ml ( 1 cup) buttermilk or 3/4 cup plain yoghurt and 1/4 cup water
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) unflavored vegetable oil (I use groundnut oil)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cinnamon swirl :
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 65 gm granulated sugar
What to do :
- In a large bowl take flour, salt and baking soda and combine together with a whisk. Add the chocolate chips. Set aside.
- In another medium bowl, whisk the egg, brown sugar and granulated sugar to combine. Whisk in the oil, buttermilk and vanilla.
- Then slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredient, and gently whisk till there are no more lumps or no more flour streaks. Do not over-mix, or the mixture will become elastic.
- Make the cinnamon swirl by mixing together the cinnamon and granulated sugar.
- Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan generously with softened (not melted) room-temperature butter. This helps to give the loaf a beautiful brown crust.
- Pour half of the prepared batter into the loaf pan. Spread evenly with 3/4 of your cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Pour the remaining batter on top and finish with the rest of the cinnamon-sugar. Sprinkle with a some more mini chocolate chips if desired.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170° Celcius.
- Loosely cover the cake loaf tin with aluminium foil and bake it for 45 minutes to one hour. Poke the centre of the cake with a toothpick, if it comes out clean, it is done.
- Allow the cake to cool completely before in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into slices.
- Buttermilk gives the cake a very moist texture. Don’t skip on it.
- Room temperature egg is essential to mix it well. You can also get the egg to room temperature by placing it in warm water.
This cake stays well for a week in an air-tight container. You can also put some banana slices on top and get brownie points for adding fruit to your dessert.
And now I am going to check my time-table every 3 hours, just to ensure I don’t miss any classes.