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Knife Skills Class – Notes & Recipes

Knife skills

Whether a professional chef or a keen amateur our knifes need to be in good condition and sharp. There are many expensive brands on the market, however feel the weight of the handle and grip to get the knife that feels right to you.

In kitchens many French culinary terms are used for different cuts of vegetables and meats. Brunoise small dice, Mirepoix Diced etc. Having a knowledge of these actually does help, here are the main cuts for vegetables, you’ll find even more information online

Vegetable Cuts:

  • Allumette Cut (Matchstick) – Dimension – 1/16” X 1/16” X 2′
  • Julienne Cut (Double Matchstick) – Dimension – 1/8” X 1/4” X 2”
  • Batonnet Cut (French Fry Cut)- Dimension – 1/4” X 1/4” X 2”
  • Brunoise Cut (Square Allumette) – Dimension – 1/16” X 1/16” X 1/16”
  • Macedoine Cut (Square Julienne) – Dimension – 1/8” X 1/8” X 1/8”
  • Small Dice (Squar Baton) – Dimension – 1/4” X 1/4” X 1 / 4”
  • Medium Dice – Dimension – 1/2” X 1/2” X 1/2”
  • Large Dice – Dimension – 3/4” X 3/4” X 3/4′
  • Slice – To Cut into uniform cross cuts, Example Slicing Onions
  • Chiffonade – Roll up leaves of lettuce cabbage etc. and then slice

Knifes; Kitchen Knives are an essential part of any kitchen and you will normally find a selection of knives in most kitchens and homes. Why do we have a selection of knifes in our kitchens?

The knives we have in our kitchens are all there for different reasons. We have sharp knives for chopping, serrated knives for bread, tomatoes or eating steak. These are only some of the different knives found within a kitchen and there are many others for many different tasks

If you cook a lot, then you will understand the importance of having access to a different selection of knives whilst cooking. These are like different tools to a carpenter and need to be looked after.

How Do I Know a Good Set of Knives?

A good set of knives are made from quality steel with a full tang into the handle (the unsharpened part of the blade, leading to the handle). The handle should be made of a suitably strong material this might mean you will pay slightly more for them. That said the knives, if looked after properly will outlast most other cheaper versions of knives.

How do I store my knives?

If you have purchased a set of kitchen knives, then invariably it will have also come with a storage block. This block has several benefits, the obvious one is for easy storage, it also keeps sharp edges safe, protects the edges and prevents damage. If you do not have a block use a magnetic holder which will prevent them from getting damaged. Avoid storing them in a drawer.

Care For Knives:

Other ways you can take care of your knives is by the way you wash and dry them. we recommend that you wash your knives in mild soapy warm water and dry immediately. If you wash your knives in the dishwasher you need to be sure to remove and thoroughly dry them prior to putting them away. If knives are not cared for properly then they may show signs of oxidising and slight surface rust.

The Cutting Edge:

In daily use of your kitchen knives, you will over time wear away at the cutting edge. This will happen by chopping, cutting and cutting against hard surfaces. You will need to sharpen your knives regularly with a quick run through a knife sharpener, honing steel or whetstone.

Recipes from the class

Ratatouille

Ingredients: Serves 6

  • 3 red peppers, each quartered and deseeded
  • handful basil, leaves and stalks separated
  • Sprig of Thyme or Oregano
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for frying and drizzling
  • 2 courgettes (different colours are good), roughly chopped
  • 1 aubergine, chopped into large chunks
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • pinch sugar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Bread, to serve

Method

  1. Heat the grill to high. Lay the pepper quarters skin-side up on a baking tray and grill until the skins are black and charred. Tip into a bowl, cover and leave to cool. Peel the charred skin off the peppers, then cut into strips, and toss back in the juices collected in the bowl. Tie the basil stalks and thyme/ oregano sprig together using kitchen string and set aside.
  2. Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/ gas 4. Heat the olive oil in a ovenproof pan dish and fry the courgettes and aubergine for 15 mins until nicely browned. You may need to do this in batches, adding more oil to the pan as needed so the pan is never dry.
  3. Scoop the veg out of the pan and set aside. Add a drizzle more oil, tip in the onion and cook for another 15 mins until softened and starting to brown. Add the garlic and leave to sizzle for a moment. Scatter with sugar, then leave for a minute to caramelise and splash in the vinegar. Stir in the cooked vegetables along with the pepper juice, season generously, pour over the cans of tomatoes and bring everything to a simmer.
  4. Nestle in the herbs, cover the dish and transfer to the oven for 1 hr. Remove the lid and give it another 30 mins until everything is cooked down and jammy. Leave the ratatouille to cool until just warm, then stir through most of the basil leaves and the extra virgin olive oil. Scatter with the rest of the basil and serve with bread or toasted sourdough 

Pont-neuf fries

Ingredients: Serves 4

  • 6 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into long thick sticks
  • 3 oz melted butter

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Blanch cut potatoes in boiling salted water, then immerse in cold water to stop cooking and pat dry.
  3. Spread butter on a baking sheet, add fries and bake for 20 minutes, brown turning 3 minutes.
  4. Drain on paper towels. Salt and serve.

Citrus Slaw

Ingredients: Serves 2

  • 1x lime or lemon zest and juice
  • 1tsp of caster sugar
  • 3tbsp of olive oil
  • 1x handful of chopped coriander
  • ¼ red cabbage, shredded
  • ¼ white or chinese cabbage, shredded
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1x shallot, sliced
  • 1 green chilli, sliced
  • 1tbsp of mayo or kewpie (optional)

Vegetable Spring Roll

Ingredients – Makes plenty depending on size! 

  • – 100g julienned/batons carrot. Very fine strips
  • – 200g Shredded Chinese leaf/white cabbage.
  • – 60g Beansprouts.
  • – 100g bamboo shoot strips.
  • – 200g finely sliced mushrooms
  • – ½ tbs veg stock powder.
  • – 1 tbs teriyaki or oyster sauce 
  • – 1.5 tablespoon soy sauce
  • – 1.5 tbs sesame oil.
  • – ½ tbs salt.
  • – ½ tbs w.pepper.
  • – 1tbs plain flour and water to make a glue.
  • – Spring roll pastry.
  • – Garlic to your preference don’t over power.
  • – Chillies optional to taste.

Method:

  1. Fry the mushrooms with the salt, pepper and sugar for a couple of  minutes
  2. Add all other vegetables and mix – then fry for additional 2 minutes
  3. Add stock powder, soy and oyster sauce and sesame oil.  You are looking for the mixture to dry out.  Allow to cool
  4. Cut your spring roll sheet diagonally to make 2 triangles, position one with point towards you.
  5. Add spoon of cooled filling in the centre of the triangle, press down to compress.  Size to suit you but be consistent.  Take the point and roll away from you.  Fold in the corners and seal with the glue.  Repeat with the parcel you have just made in the other triangle and make a tidy spring roll.   Set aside
  6. Shallow fry for about 8 minutes turnin

We Hope You Enjoyed The Class

If you have any feedback about the class or questions for chef please do get in touch. Email: lovetocook@foodsorcery.co.uk

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