Friday, 26 October 2012

A thousand hits

Hello everyone,

My blog today is celebrating a thousand hits! Yippee!!

 Thank you very much to those who have been following and please, do not hesitate to leave comments with your thoughts, questions, requests and suggestions. I really never thought so many people would read it and I am very pleased!!

Love to you all,


Our teacher David Galpin

Hello bloggers

This is our pastry chef and teacher at South Devon College David Galpin, he recently received an award:

This is the full article about him:

AN AWARD-WINNING chef from Plymouth has become South Devon College's new head of catering, hospitality and tourism.
David Galpin, 51 was a Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Navy for 24 years, 10 of which were spent teaching at the joint food service training institution for the armed services.
There he was named armed forces chef of the year. He has won more than 30 gold medals in national and international culinary competitions, including the Chef Olympics and a World Cup winning medal in the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg — a feat no other British entry has ever emulated.
For the last seven years David has been a chef lecturer at South Devon College where he has introduced and developed the competition element to the catering department with a great deal of success.
This has now seen him promoted to the role of section head of a department whose industry is at the heart of Torbay and South Devon.
David said: "I am delighted to be taking on this important role.
"I really want to develop the programme further and maintain the 'outstanding' grade we achieved from Ofsted.
"Student numbers, particularly apprentices, have increased significantly, yet we have still maintained a success rate of more than 94 per cent — much higher than the national benchmark.
"I am looking to develop and grow our industry links and the growth of our curriculum to help supply these increased numbers with their demand for an outstanding learning experience in an area vital to the future of Torbay and South Devon."
David has lived in Devon for more than 26 years and, after leaving the navy, he worked as head chef of a large hotel in Plymouth before joining South Devon College.
He is keen to not only develop the skills of college learners in the catering, hospitality and tourism section, but also to showcase them to the local community and beyond.
"The facilities at South Devon College are simply fantastic," he said. "I'm keen to share this with the community by developing our training restaurant Horizons and by showcasing the skills of our learners direct to the community at various venues and events.
"We have an extremely strong catering, hospitality and tourism section here at South Devon College, which reflects the local industry, and we hope to create a mutually beneficial partnership between the college, local industry and local community."
David is also enthusiastic about developing apprenticeships for the college's travel and tourism section.
All kinds of different apprenticeships are available at the college, rated as an outstanding provider by Ofsted.
Adele Dawson, head of business advantage, construction and hospitality at South Devon College, added: "Our apprenticeship programme is recognised by Ofsted as one of the best in the country, awarded a 'grade one' at the last inspection.
"In 2010/11, our overall success rate improved by 10 per cent, and now stands at 88 per cent.
"This is a terrific achievement for the apprentices, their employers, the college teaching staff and the training officers, all of whom contribute to this excellent set of results.
We hope to encourage even more employers to take on an apprentice; it makes great business sense and of course creates an opportunity for a young person at the start of their career — the next generation of skilled staff, which can only be good for the economy of South Devon and our wider community."
The college works with employers who are looking for apprentices and is always willing to hear from employers who would like to consider offering apprenticeship opportunities. For more information, call 01803 540 600 or log on to

There we are. This is our teacher.



Patisserie and Confiserie Lesson 6: Blueberry, lemon and mint drizzle cake, Carrot and Courgette Cake and Sticky Gingerbread.


Another baking lesson at the college. I must admit, today I was feeling very under the weather (and what weather we have: rain, rain, rain and more rain!).

The lesson today was: more cakes. We made Blueberry, lemon and mint drizzle cake, Carrot and Courgette Cake and Sticky Gingerbread.

We always start with 1 hour theory and after a break we go for 3 hours or so in the kitchen.

The teacher divided the class in groups of 2 and 3 to perform those 3 recipes. I helped weighing the gingerbread cake and made 2 carrot and courgette cakes.

Cakes ready on cooling racks

My carrot and gingerbread cakes

I love seeing those cakes altogether

Students working hard at it

My carrot and courgette cakes (with a little help from my friends)

Listening to the teacher

David rolling marzipan for carrot confection

My little carrots

All carrots from the class

David Galpin cutting one of my carrot cakes

Carrots and carrot cakes

Carrot cakes cut in slices

Piping icing

Decorated carrot cakes

With icing sugar

Cutting gingerbread 

Decorating with ginger and icing drizzle

The result for gingerbread

Trays ready with Blueberry, lemon and mint drizzle cake

These are my decorated carrot cakes

Many cake trays later...

Hope you enjoyed another lesson!!!

I will publish the recipes in a book and everybody can have it


Friday, 19 October 2012

Patisserie and Confiserie lesson 5: Choux Pastry

Hello everyone.

Thursday it was our fifth lesson in the course. Doesn't time fly?

We learnt pate a choux and its variations: Paris-Brest, Chocolate eclairs, Profiteroles, choux buns, Swans.

Pate a choux is a cooked pastry that you mix well on the hob. It requires quite an active work and it gets its elasticity from the strong flour and gluten like bread.

We all made our own pastry and had the chance to shape and decorate our own too. The only thing that changes in making those is the shape and filling, as they are all made with the same pastry.

Pate a choux cooling after hard work beating the flour into the liquid and
butter on the hob and before adding the eggs

After eggs were added, very slowly

Ready to bake, the dough was piped in shapes in the baking tray on greased paper

All baked in a 210 degrees oven

Baked and cooling

Swan heads shaped and baked

My swan heads on the right and Vicky's on the left

2 best heads (upside down)

Swan bodies all ready

Chocolate eclairs, mine are the thin ones

Teacher's swans

My swans

Look at this beak! A Flamingo perhaps?

Our joint efforts

Our tray of goodies. All are mine but the buns

Beautiful Paris-Brests, Chocolate eclairs and coffee buns

Class work

My swan went for a ride

This is it. Hope you enjoyed.

See you soon,


Classic chocolate éclair


  • 250ml/9fl oz water 
  • 115g/4oz butter 
  • 200g/7oz plain flour 
  • 1 tsp caster sugar pinch salt
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 50g/2oz dark chocolate, chopped 
  • 150g/51⁄2oz fondant icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp dark cocoa powder 
  • 450ml/16fl oz double cream

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  2. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  3. Heat the water and butter in a saucepan until the butter has melted.Beat in the flour, sugar and salt until the mixture is smooth, then continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. 
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth and glossy.
  5. Set aside to cool, then spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a medium size nozzle.
  6. Pipe 12.5cm/5in lines onto the baking tray and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp.
  7. Remove the éclairs from the oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack.Meanwhile, heat the dark chocolate and two tablespoons of water in a saucepan until the chocolate has melted.
  8. Sieve the icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl, then add the melted chocolate and water and beat until the mixture is smooth and thickened.Spoon the mixture into a piping bag.
  9. Whip the double cream in a bowl until stiff peaks just form when the whisk is removed. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle. Carefully insert the nozzle into the base of the éclairs and fill with cream.
  10. Pipe the fondant chocolate on top of the éclairs and set aside until set.

By James Martin
From Saturday Kitchen

These delicious éclairs are easier to make than you think – James Martin shows you how.