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

Archive for May, 2012

Day 81 – White chocolate mousse with redcurrant jelly centre – Tues 15th May

Today chef Christophe took us for the demo and practical. We haven’t had chef Christophe for a demo before though we’ve had him lots of time for practicals. He has a habit of referring to any group of students as ‘girls’ and calls all students Geraldine or Gerald, though usually Geraldine, irrespective of gender! He also talks to himself throughout the demo.

Today’s cake consisted of a layer of pistachio dacquoise sponge, which is a sponge rich in ground pistachio and pistachio paste as well as ground almonds. On top of this was a white chocolate mousse, in which a disk of redcurrant jelly was placed and covered with more white chocolate mousse. A white chocolate glaze was applied to the top of the cake and then decorated with piped dark chocolate. Squares of dark chocolate dusted with an edible lustre were used to decorate the sides of the cake as well as some pieces on top, as well as some fruit.

And here is my cake from the practical.

Day 80 – Poires Religieuses – Mon 14th May

Chef Nicolas took us today for the patisserie demonstration and chef Christophe for the practical.

The cake today was a poires religieuses. A ring was lined on the sides and base with a layer of chocolate sponge, brushed with caramel, then covered with a chocolate mousse with diced caramelised pears mixed in, another disk of sponge, more mousse, then finished with a chocolate glaze. The top was decorated with piped white chocolate, a fanned caramelised pear and a white and dark chocolate pear shape.

Day 79 – Lyonnais – Fri 11th May

2 dishes from this area.

The 1st was Lyonnaise salad. Leaves of curly endive, dressed in vinaigrette, with croutons and crispy lardons of smoked bacon and topped with a poached egg.

Next were quenelles of pike mousseline, poached and baked and served with a crayfish sauce and decorated with a poached crayfish.

Day 78 – Rhone-Alpes, Savoie, Dauphine – Thurs 10th May

The chef started with a hot soufflé flavoured with Comté cheese.

Next he cooked a chicken ballotine with dauphinoise potatoes. The legs were cut from the chicken and the thigh meat removed, but the skin left intact and then stuffed with a mousse made from the thigh meat. The legs were then roasted with the breast of chicken. Slices of breast, thigh mousse and a drumstick were served with dauphinoise potatoes and a sauce made from the roasted chicken bones.

Day 77 – Cote d’Azur – Wed 9th May

Today the chef made 3 dishes, 2 of which we then made in the practical.

The first was a salad Niçoise with fresh Tuna.

Next was a seafood risotto of scallops, mussels and langoustines, with the stock for the risotto flavoured with the juices from cooking the mussels and the langoustine shells. It was served with a sauce of a reduction of shellfish stock and cream.

Lastly the chef made a desert of raspberries and strawberries in a lemon sabayon, served in a tuile basket.

In the practical we made the risotto and the fruit in sabayon dishes. Both were really delicious and I would have them again happily.

Day 76 – Boulangerie – Tues 8th May

Chef Nicolas took us for the demo and practical today on boulangerie. He made 3 types of bread: rye bread, baguette viennoise and foccacia.

The baguette is an enriched dough similar to a brioche and is a 4 strand plait.  The rye bread was made from 10 balls of dough in a ring.

The foccacia was flavoured with olive oil, herbs, olives and garlic.

And here is my bread from the practical

Day 75 – More light cooking – Fri 4th May

First of all, happy international Star Wars day to everyone!

In the demo today the chef completed the salmon gravadlax. He washed off the marinade and the surface of the salmon was a deep pink colour. He sliced it thinly and served it with a quenelle of sour cream and a dill flavoured olive oil.

Next the venison carpaccio was sliced very thinly and arranged with a small rocket salad.

Next the chef made a pinapple ravioli. Very thin slices of pineapple were filled with a sweetened mascarpone flavoured with coriander and mint, and served with raspberry coulis, sliced strawberries and shards of orange tuile.

Lastly the chef made veal piccatas with lime, and herb noodles. Veal escalopes were quickly pan fried and served with a piquant lime flavoured sauce, julienne of lime zest and herbed noodles.

Next we had 2 practicals, first making the lobster and risotto, then the veal and noodles. Both were delicious and provided my lunch and dinner on Friday. Yummmmmmmmm!

Day 74 – Light cooking and savoury petit fours – Thurs 3rd May

Today’s demo was about light cooking (a brief hiatus in the regions of France) and the chef prepared a side of salmon for a beetroot gravadlax and left it to marinate overnight.

He also seared a loin of venison for carpaccio and put it in the freezer for easier slicing.

The main dish was a poached and pan-fried lobster with broad bean risotto and parmesan shavings.

Next we had a technical class from chef Nicolas on making savoury petit fours. He made chicken and mushroom vol-au-vents, cheese twists, mini ham croissants, mini pizzas, sausage rolls and salmon roulade.

Day 73 – Lamb Tian and making the Sabrina – Wed 2nd May

Chef Gilles demonstrated the 2nd dish that may come up in our cuisine exam.

It is a fillet of lamb on a vegetable tian with a mint and pepper sauce.

The meat on a rack of lamb was cut from the bone and pan fried until browned on the outside and pink in the centre.

A vegetable tian was constructed from layers of vegetable: sautéed spinach, fried mushroom slices, sautéed sliced onions, pan fried sliced artichoke heart and diced tomato.

On top of this, slices of the lamb were arranged and topped with a quenelle of garlic purée and a sprig of mint.

The sauce, a reduction of stock and the lamb bones, finished with a chiffonade of mint and crushed green peppercorns, was spooned on the plate around the lamb.

The chef also made a first course of a crab and asparagus charlotte. This was white crab meat mixed with some mayonnaise and chopped onion and used to fill a small ring lined with asparagus spears and served with some chopped asparagus and an orange vinaigrette with diced tomato and chives.

Next we a had a patisserie practical where we made the Sabrina.

Constructing the sponge and strawberry cream centre was tricky and hard to keep tidy. However it went fairly well and here is my finished gateau.


Day 72 – Basque Chicken and Gateau Sabrina – Tues 1st May

Today we started with a practical with chef Gilles where we made the Basque chicken he demonstrated last Friday.

Not hard but lots to do – butchering the chicken, boning the thighs, wrapping the breasts in the ham, slicing all the veg, making the sauce, cooking the rice pilaf.

It was very tasty, more than I was expecting as I’m not a huge fan of peppers (capsicums) and looked very pretty on the plate with so many colours.

Next we had another demo from chef Nicolas, this time Gateau Sabrina, the 3rd of our potential exam dishes.

This is a circle of pate sucrée topped with a spiral of sponge and strawberry cream, all masked with more strawberry cream, then topped with a disc of marzipan covered with tempered chocolate and then decorated with some piped strawberry cream, piped chocolate and a sliced strawberry.

The chef says it will take more time than either of the other 2 exam dishes so we need to really get cracking with our time management.

Here is the completed gateau and one cut in half to show the sponge and strawberry cream.



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