Monday, February 27, 2012

Baking and Pastry Classes at NAIT-very hands on!

I have always been fascinated with baking. I baked some things that turned out very well and some not so much. To perfect the art of baking, I figured it's time to take a class or two to help me with what baffles me the most: how to perfect the art of baking. 

NAIT has long been known for their hands-on classes, especially their culinary institute. To quench my curiosity, I decided to enroll in well, three classes. BAK 50: Advanced Cakes,Pastries & Chocolates, is the one I want to take. The class, however, requires two prerequisite courses be taken, BAK 17 and BAK 31. BAK 17 is Decadent Chocolates & Truffles and BAK 31 is Cakes, Pastries & Plated Desserts. Without much hesitation, I enrolled myself in the chocolate making class!

The class was spread over 3 classes, 4 hours-long each. In this class, you learn the different qualities of chocolate, the ingredients that go into chocolate, how to temper chocolate (reheat and cool down), how to mold it and the mystery that everyone is wondering do they get the filling into chocolate?! (Caramilk anyone? It's actually real simple. You pour melted chocolate into a mold, wait a few seconds, and dump the chocolate back out again. Wait a few minutes for the chocolate to settle in the mold. Fill the molds with your desired filling, pour melted chocolate on top of the mold and scrape the excess chocolate off the mold. Taaadaa! Not so secret anymore! Well, I still think it's cool.)

In this class, we learned how to make dark and milk chocolates with liquor fillings, truffles, almond rochers, buttercream caramels dipped in chocolate, chocolate dipped strawberries and applying design transfers on to chocolates. I had A LOT of chocolate to take home!

I only took two pictures from this class. I didn't bother bringing a camera, but now I wish I did. Next time!

I really enjoyed this class. It was very hands on. The only drawback I had to this class was that each class was too long.I would have preferred if each class was only 3 hours long, spread over 4 classes.  My next class starts beginning of March and I'll be learning how to make cakes, pastries and plated desserts.I am excited!

If you are interested in learning more about these classes or others, go to their website.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Recipes to Riches..SeasonTwo!

Do any of you have a special recipe that you would like to share with the rest of Canada? Recipes to Riches is back! Remember that awesome show with Food Network Canada and President's Choice? I sure do. The first season just ended back in December and boy was I ever excited about the show. There are 7 categories to be one including appetizers, entrees and desserts. For each category won, there are 3 contestants that can win $25,000. Whoever wins that category qualifies for the grand prize of $250,000. Their products are then made available at participating Loblaw (Superstore) Stores the following weekend for consumers to enjoy. Consumers can then vote for their favourite recipe. Their votes are tallied and the winner of the grand prize is announced on the final episode.

As pumped up as I was about this show and the upcoming season, I had no recipe to enter. What you say?! Being the foodie I am, whenever I cook, it is mostly from a cookbook. If not, it's usually a modified version of it or something that I've made up but obviously not good enough to win...sigh.Ah well, now I have time to come up with a recipe for the next season!

Go here to check out the official contest page!