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

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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