I'm studying the Grand Diplome at Cordon Bleu in London

Today we started Intermediate Cuisine and this term in cuisine we will be covering regional French cooking. The 1st class was on the North of France, up around the Belgian border.

We had chef Loic for the demo, which was the first time we have had him for any class. He is the head of cuisine and I don’t think he teaches basic cuisine.

He cooked 3 dishes: Pumpkin soup, Carbonnade of beef with onions and beer and a puff pastry and apple slice with cinnamon cream.

The pumpkin soup was a simple soup of onions and pumpkin sweated in butter, simmered with chicken stock, then blended and served with chives and a little whipped cream.

The beef for the carbonnade was browned in oil, then sliced onions and garlic were sweated in the same pan, the beef added back, the pan deglazed with blond beer, beef stock added and braised in the oven until tender. It was served with endive which was poached then pan-fried and boiled potatoes, finished with butter and parsley.

Lastly puff pastry was topped with diced apples, which had been sautéed with butter, sugar and cinnamon, and covered with more puff pastry which had been scored. It was baked, sliced and served with a cinnamon flavoured creme anglaise.

In the practical we made the pumpkin soup and beef carbonnade. Both turned out well, though I have never found pumpkin soup overly exciting but this had a decent flavour (probably due to the chicken stock!). The beef carbonnade, however, was delicious and my wife wants to make this herself, probably with a whole cow.

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