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

Archive for May, 2012

Day 91 – Rabbit and more plated desserts – Tue 29th May

We started by cooking the rabbit dish chef David demonstrated last week. Messy job, butchering the rabbit, but quite a tasty dish, though it’s tempting to say it tastes like chicken…

Nice to have chef Eric taking us for the practical. We’ve only had him once this term.

Next we had chef Christophe for both the demo and practical.

He finished off the banana mousse which involved unmoulding it and spraying it with a white chocolate and cocoa butter mix. This was applied with a compressed air paint sprayer and, once set, gave a velvet finish and crisp, thin coating. The mousses were plated with a creme anglaise, blackcurrant coulis and fresh fruit and some chocolate decorations or sugar work.

Next was a tarte tatin. Apples were sliced and cooked in caramel then used to line a small tin. The tin was filled with diced apple, also cooked in caramel, then baked in the oven and topped with a puff pastry circle before being flipped onto the pastry and unmoulded.

It was also decorated with creme anglaise and blackcurrant coulis, fresh fruit and sugar work.

In the practical I got to use the sprayer to coat the banana mousses and it was tempting to spray everything in sight with chocolate, as well as taking it home to do some redecorating.

We also got to do some sugar work and I made some really good sugar spirals and a couple of sugar cages.

Day 90 – Chocolate Box and Chocolate Fondant – Mon 28th May

Several patisserie classes today.

We started with a lecture on making a chocolate box from chef Graeme, and is something I’ll be making next term.

It’s completely made of chocolate, both dark and white, and consists of 2 discs of chocolate separated by a ring of chocolate and standing on 7 chocolate balls for feet, then decorated with chocolate lattices, bows, twirls, curls, cut outs, transfers and a butterfly.

Next we had a demo from chef Christophe which is the first of a few lessons on plated desserts.

The 1st was a banana mousse with a caramel insert and chocolate sponge base. These were refrigerated for completion tomorrow.

The next dish was a chocolate fondant which is a small baked dessert which is served hot and still liquid in the centre, and served with an orange caramel cake and some fresh fruit.

Day 89 – Burgundy – Fri 25th May

Chef David took us for the demo today and cooked 3 dishes from the Burgundy region.

The 1st was snail vol au vents. Puff pastry was rolled out and cut and baked to create the vol au vent cases. The snails were poached in a court bouillon to infuse them with the flavour and then put into a velouté sauce of chicken stock and cream infused with garlic, then spooned into the pastry cases and topped with chopped chives and tarragon and finished with parsley purée and parsley oil.

Next was Rabbit stew. A whole rabbit carcass was butchered into joints, and the liver, kidneys and heart retained for the dish. The pieces of rabbit were dusted with seasoned flour and browned. The pan was deglazed with white wine, chicken stock added plus the rabbit pieces and parboiled, turned potatoes and simmered until cooked through. The rack of rabbit, liver and kidneys were briefly sautéed and the rack and kidneys added to the stew for the last few minutes. The sauce was finished with chopped parsley and served in a bowl with the rack and slices of the liver on top.

Lastly the chef cooked pain d’epices, which is a dense spiced bread. A soft dough of flour, rye flour, baking powder, butter, sugar, water and honey was made and flavoured with orange rind, cinnamon, aniseed and ginger. It was baked in a cake tin, allowed to cool and then cut into squares.

Day 88 – Ile de France II – Thurs 24th May

Chef Gilles cooked a couple of dishes today.

The first was veal kidneys in mustard sauce. The whole kidney, which had to be separated from the fat surrounding it, was cut into lobes and quickly browned, then left to drain of its blood. The sauce was made of shallots, mustard seeds, white wine, chicken and veal stock and cream. The kidneys were braised in the sauce to complete its cooking and the sauce was finished with chopped parsley and Dijon mustard. I tasted the sauce and it definitely tasted of kidney, which I like, with a lovely mustard flavour.

Next the chef cooked poached fillets of lemon sole with tomato and cream sauce and green tagliatelle. The fish was filleted and the bones used to make fish stock. A sauce was made from sweated shallots, white wine, the fish stock and tomatoes and finished with a little butter. The pasta was made with cooked and drained spinach, eggs and flour, rolled in a pasta machine and cut as tagliatelle.


Day 87 – Ile de France I – Wed 23rd May

Chef Gilles took us for the demo on dishes from the region of Ile de France, which is the region that surrounds and includes Paris.

He cooked 2 dishes, the 1st of which was Parisian style scallops. Slices of scallop in a mushroom and scallop sauce were baked in a scallop shell, bordered with duchesse potato and topped with breadcrumbs and Gruyere cheese.

The 2nd dish was poached egg on a tartlet of mushroom duxelle and topped with hollandaise sauce.

We made both dishes in the practical and I’m pleased to say they looked just like the chef’s dishes and tasted pretty good. I had a good lunch!

Lastly we had a lecture from chef Graeme on sweet soufflés.

He cooked a pudding soufflé, which had a roux base and was flavoured with lemon and lemon sauce and raspberries.

Next was an orange soufflé with orange caramel sauce and chocolate sauce.

Lastly some crepes were filled with soufflé mix and baked in a gratin dish.

Day 86 – Chocolaterie II – Tue 22nd May

Today chef Christophe took us for a demo on making a chocolate centrepiece. This was a figure or cartoon outlined onto acetate or plastic sheet then painted in with coloured cocoa butter before flooding with white chocolate and leaving to set. Another exercise in tempering chocolate.

In addition a small base was made which could contain a background for the piece or an abstract design.

The chef made a couple of pieces. The first was a Fred Flintstone and the second Garfield the cat.

We could choose our own figure to make and, as it’s almost the season (well it will be in 6 months) I made a Father Christmas with Arctic scene!

It’s almost all white chocolate plus a little dark chocolate so I can eat it all. Yummm.

Day 85 – Chocolaterie I – Mon 21st May

Monday saw the 1st of a couple of days of working with chocolate.

Chef Nicolas demonstrated the making of 4 different truffles and chocolates, which all involved tempering a lot of chocolate.

He made Malakoff which is a chocolate, praline and almond mix topped with white chocolate and cut into rectangles, moulded chocolates filled with a rum flavoured ganache, white chocolate, Malibu and passion fruit truffles rolled in raspberry sugar and lastly, caramel cups which are chocolate cups filled with Baileys flavoured caramel and then chocolate ganache and topped with a pistachio nut.

In the practical we each had to make some moulded chocolates and one of the others. My partner in the practical and I got to make the caramel cups, which was ok but I thought the Baileys actually detracted from the flavour of the caramel. However all went ok, though the shell for the moulded chocolates was too thick meaning there isn’t much ganache inside.

However we then all shared and got to take some of each type of chocolate home.

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