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

Archive for 21/04/2012

Day 65 – Bordeaux – Fri 20th April

Chef Gilles took us today for the demo and practical.

Firstly he made white asparagus with walnut vinaigrette.


Second was fillet of beef with red wine sauce, sautéed wild mushrooms with garlic and pommes noisette.

Pommes noisette are balls of potato cut with a melon baller, blanched then cooked in clarified butter until crisp and golden. The red wine sauce was made from browned meat trimmings, mirepoix, red wine and veal stock then finished with butter.

The steaks were pan fried and served with purple sprouting broccoli, the sautéed mushrooms, pommes noisette and the sauce.

We had to make both dishes in the practical and there wasn’t enough white asparagus so I only had green asparagus to cook, which largely defeated the purpose of the dish. The steaks were good though, as were the pommes noisette.

Day 64 – Vendee, Poitou-Charentes – Thurs 19th April

Chef Gilles took us for the demo and practical again. We seem to be getting him for all our classes. He is very friendly and jolly, but I bet he could be a hard boss. He also tends to go off recipe somewhat which can make following the recipe tricky sometimes.

I was happy to see my colleague able to attend classes, though with his burnt hand wrapped in a bandage like a boxing glove and feeling pretty exhausted. Quite a shock to the system, that burn.

Today’s dishes were Mouclade, Navarin of lamb and Frangipane tart.

Mouclade is steamed mussels in a curry sauce made from the cooking juices, curry powder and cream.

Navarin of lamb is a neck of lamb stew. The meat was cut from the bone and diced, then browned in a pan and cooked in the pan with mirepoix, tomato paste, white wine and veal stock until the meat was tender and the sauce thick and glossy. It was served with glazed carrots and turnips, green beans and broad beans.

Lastly the chef made a frangipane tart. A pate sucrée pastry shell was filled with almond cream and baked in the oven.

Chef Eric took us for the practical. We haven’t had him for a class since last term and it was good to see him again.

We made the mouclade and navarin of lamb. Both were very tasty, though a far too small amount of lamb. Here are my dishes.


Later in the day we had this term’s cheese lecture. The chap who covers cheese has a fantastic knowledge of the subject and is wonderfully enthusiastic. He gave us another fabulous lecture.

Day 63 – Sologne, Loire Valley – Wed 18th April

Chef Gilles took us for the demo and practical again today and made 3 dishes.

The 1st was a goats cheese, blended with cream, formed into a quenelle and served with a beetroot and grape vinaigrette, some strips of crisp baked filo pastry and a lamb’s lettuce salad.

Next was roast quail with a shredded vegetable cake. The quail was cleaned and wrapped in strips of pork back fat, seared then roasted. Once roasted, the legs and breasts were carved and kept warm while the carcass was chopped and used to make a sauce with white wine, mirepoix and veal stock.

For the vegetable cake, potatoes, carrot and turnip were cut into julienne, salted and queezed to remove excess water, then cooked in clarified butter in a small round tin until crisp and golden.

The quail was served on the vegetable cake with sautéed mushrooms, bacon lardons and glazed button onions and the sauce.

Lastly the chef made a traditional tart tatin. Apple quarters were slowly cooked in buter and sugar, then topped with puff pastry and baked in the oven. Once baked it was turned out onto a plate.

In the practical we were just making the quail and accompaniments. It was quite hard to cook the quail just right. With a bird this small (the whole bird is smaller than a fist) it’s very easy to under or over-cook it. However it tasted good – a slightly livery flavour as well as meaty.

Unfortunately my colleague in the class suffered a very nasty burn to his hand when some very hot oil was spilled on it and lost some skin. He had to go to the hospital burns unit for a dressing and won’t be able to cook for a week or two, though he can still attend classes. I hope he recovers well and quickly.

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