Enderun Fundamentals Course

Last January, I mentioned that I enrolled myself in culinary school in Enderun Extension in this post here.  So for all my Saturday mornings this March and April, I spent my mornings at Enderun Campus in Fort Bonifacio, learning the technical basics of cooking through their Fundamentals Course.

The school facilities were great, with very well-equipped kitchens and endless coffee, iced tea and snacks set out for the students (Like most people, I love anything free!  Hehehe).  Also, there were only 10 of us per class which was ideal since the instructors had enough time to go around, check on our individual progress, and answer all our questions.

Here’s some of what was included in the fundamentals course just in case any of you are interested in this class.  🙂

During the first session, we practiced basic knife skills and learned how to make the different cuts like brunoise, julienne, paysanne, etc.

Aside from the facilities and the very knowledgeable instructors, what I really enjoyed about the course is that although we were only supposed to learn technical skills with no actual cooking, the instructors made sure to show us how to turn the raw ingredients into something yummy every week.  For the knife skills with vegetables, we had a delicious ratatouille that I’ve recreated at home several times.

Practicing knife skills

Torching a green pepper before peeling

Ratatouille made from all our chopped veggies

We had a potato and leek soup during the session that taught us to turn vegetables.  Turning vegetables is purely decorative, we pared down potatoes into football shapes and make miniature carrots from full sized ones.  So next time you see those miniature vegetables that you see on the side of your main dish when you order stuff in fancy restaurants remember that a heck of a lot of work goes into it!  I now have a new found appreciation for garnishes.

Potato leek soup

The other sessions taught us to truss and break down chickens, and prepare fish fillets, lamb chops, pork loin and tenderloin steaks.

Roast chicken

I cook at home quite a lot so there wasn’t really anything very new to me, but it nice to know the “proper” way to do things and get to improve on my rather haphazard way of getting things done (although it’s worked for me so far!).  🙂

It was a fun way to spend a few Saturdays, and I would definitely enroll in the intermediate course should it become available.  I recommend the course for beginners who want to learn how to cook and for serious home cooks who want to fine tune their skills.  🙂

How to determine knit type through fabric stretch

I’ve been going through my new patterns trying to figure out what project to make next.  I figure I should make something using knits since I have quite a lot of them (mainly because they’re all I could sew when I was pregnant).  Also, I need something that has a little more give since my current weight isn’t quite where I’d like it to be yet.  Here are some of my choices, I’m looking for basic wardrobe builders or things that I can wear pretty often!

While looking through the fabric choices for these patterns, I noticed that they require different types of knits.  The Renfrew top calls for stable knits while the Vogue patterns call for lightweight double knits and two way stretch knits.  I found this kind of confusing (beginner seamstress here!) so I consulted my fabric “bible,” Claire Shaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide which I have on my Kindle, and I thought I would share a few tips with all of you.

To determine fabric stretch, fold your fabric crosswise 3 inches from the edge.  The crosswise grain runs perpendicular to the selvage.  I’ve made a simple illustration here for those who may need it:

How to determine lengthwise and crosswise grain

Next, mark a 4 inch length on the fold line and stretch.

Using stretch to determine the type of knit fabric

Here’s the cool part, by measuring how much your fabric stretches, you can determine the type of knit that you have:

  • Stable knits stretch 1/2 inch or less
  • Moderate stretch knits stretch around 1 and 1/4 inch
  • Power stretch knits stretch at least 2 inches
  • Two and four way stretch knits will stretch 2 inches both crosswise and lengthwise

Hope this helps!  🙂