My two culinary highlights of the term so far, both featuring in this past week, thanks to wonderful friends.
Sunday: I set eyes on my first ever croque-en-bouche outside of the Great British Bake Off. My first croque-en-bouche in the flesh. It was an entry in a student bake-off and it was almost heartbreaking to dismantle. And the profiteroles was filled with crème patissière, none of the whipped cream that supermarket versions make do with. This amateur bake off was varied both in the nationality of the bakes – there featured a Russischer Zupfkuchen – and in the texture of the bakes, which ranged from soft and gooey to mousse-like to crumbly to chewy…and as for flavours, the bake-off featured one of the best flavoured (with the juice of an orange) icing I’ve eaten in a while.
Tuesday: I had the most worthy meal at an Oxford college to date. Salad with haggis for starter, chicken with couscous for main, and caramel cheesecake for dessert. As far as how to cook haggis is concerned, ‘the only way is Worcester’. They look like falafel-wannabes, and taste – to a haggis hater – almost delicious, with crispy exterior fragrant from the oil they are fried in. The chicken is not pale and dry with a sufficiently wet sauce but well-seasoned, but moist, tender, flavoursome and well-seasoned. With fluffy tingling couscous and succulent and bright roasted vegetables. The cheesecake was the right size, with not one but two fruit sauces not pooled but decorating the plate in elegant lines. The cake itself had a patterned face, a piped swirl of cream, and a chocolate thin laced with yet another pattern, in colour. All for £3.