Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Term 2 - Week 5 @ Tante Marie

So.... week 5 saw more consommé being prepared and consumed, this time an "Asian" version which was quite delicately flavoured and served with ribbons of coriander pancakes, delightful.

 We also made "Globi de volaille" which apparently very roughly translated means "chicken pear" due to its shape and not any flavouring element.  The globi were made using poussin with each bird being fashioned into two 'pears' by removing all the flesh and skin from the carcass in one piece, before removing all the leg and wing bones bar the thigh,  whilst retaining all their meat.  With the aid of some stuffing and a few cocktail sticks its a simple matter of applying a little gentle persuasion to get the desired shape.  The picture below shows one of my globi before some final touches to ensure it had a flatter base so it would stand proud and upright, and not bent or lopsided like the average Woking resident on a Friday or Saturday evening.

I know it looks like a chicken leg but its half a baby chicken stuffed with more chicken with only one bone... the one I am holding.
As promised in the previous weeks recap... here is a real life, unadulterated VOL-AU-VENT! You can't quite tell the scale of this puff pastry creation, but there is nearly a whole chicken inside it along with onion and mushroomy sauce.... so lets just say that a REAL vol-au-vent is not something you could easily eat as a canapé! It was made with two layers of puff pastry and I was very happy with the rise I got from it.
A real life actual Vol-au-vent!

And now onto the main event of the week... THE “Wedding Buffet”.  Less talk about this the better really, its a buffet, for a wedding.... though not a real one... we ate it all for our lunch.

Dressed salmon

One of my contributions - rolled and stuffed and glazed pork loin.

Pate de volaille en croute.

Duck terrine ( I think).

Salmon... something.

Dressed Crabilicious!

Smoked salmon cheesecake.

Ham hock terrine.

Foreground is another smoked salmon cheesecake, background is a terrine de ratatouille nicoise.


Soft pistachio meringue with rhubarb orange and pomegranate.

Charlotte au chocolat, marbe Grand Marnier.

There were other dishes cooked but I failed to snap snaps of them before they got tucked into.  My other two dishes were a pasta salad and a delice de cassis.

Well that is all for now... I should, again, be revising for my theory exam on Friday morning... going to do my best to do that now.... but Great British Menu is on BBC2!!!!


Sunday, 23 May 2010

Why your BBQ makes me want to burn a bus shelter down (NSFW)

Well judging by the smell wafting in through my open bedroom window... coupled with the tingly sensation that comes by over exposing flesh to the power of the suns rays, I can say with confidence that, for today at least, BBQ season is upon the UK.

Having perused my Facebook page I became somewhat unsettled and then perturbed by something that has been gnawing away at me for a number of years. You know the kind of thing that crops up, starts to piss you off and then is gone just before it built up a head of steam within you causing you to embark on a day of over-turning cars and setting fire to bus shelters?

Well.... NOT ANY MORE!!! I cant contain it, I cant get away from it, its there in my view on Facebook and irritating my nostrils this very second, there is NO getting away from it!!! (the smell at least... I could, possibly, if I realllllllly needed to log out of Facebook.... said in the same way a smoker says they can quit at any time!).

So what is it about BBQ's that get me “a little” pissed off? Well to demonstrate here is a status update from my brothers wife....

“There is nothing like the sweet, sweet taste of a bbq burger!!”

Ok, now I am usually quite well spoken... on here at least, but if swear words offend you I would suggest exiting this page and deleting your history and any memory of this blog.

You have been warned.

Still here....?

Ok then..... (Mrs A if you are still reading this please don't judge me and mark me down in my final exam)


Term 2 - Week 4 @ Tante Marie

Excuse the briskness of this post but since we have just completed week 5 you can understand I am a little behind what with all the work that is due to be handed in over the next week or so.

As expected there was more puff pastry on the go this week at Tante Marie, this time in the form of “Bouchées”. You may recognise these puff pastry tidbits from supermarket or the from the 70's where they were generally marketed to the masses as “vol-au-vent cases”. Well sit down and grab a strong drink (my preference is a 6-pack of special brew) as I have some harrowing news... you have been lied too! What was marketed to you as a vol-au-vent was in fact a ! The dirty lying bastards! You will be able to see what an actual vol-au-vent looks like in my next post so please rest easy for now and continue to read if can get over this monumental occurrence that may well have shattered your faith in society as a whole.... why would they lie to us? Why why why why???

These are bouchées and not vol-au-vents... crazy times we are living in people.

So... we made our puff pastry, had our usual “rise competition” filled the vol-au-vents, sorry I mean bouchées, with various savoury mixtures. I was happy with the rise I got, in fact the rise was a little too great as they became unstable and toppled over, nothing that a bit of redirecting and pressure cant sort out though.

Oh yeah..... the all inportant side profile "rise shot"!

A “Frutti” was also on the cards this week, a “Frutti a la vanille” to be more detailed

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Term 2 - Week 3 @ Tante Marie

Well another week and an another belated blog post about the happenings at Tante Marie.

Last week was a short one what with it being a bank holiday on the Monday, with a few demonstration classes and a theory meant five sessions in the kitchens was all we managed. Having said that there was plenty to keep us occupied.

Puff pastry has so far this term has been, and as far as I can see will continue to be, a recurring 'basic' that will greet us again and again over the coming weeks. There were two dishes involving this beautifully buttery crisp delight that faced us, the “seafood pithiviers” and the “tranche des fruits”.

I enjoy making these pastry dishes, not because of the later consumption of the calorie laden and gratifying assembly's, but because of the challenge presented. Puff pastry is not hard to make as I am sure I said in last weeks update, however it does take a certain amount of care to make it well. It is in the baking when one will find out how well it has been made, and its becoming a bit of a obsession with some of us in group 5 as to how much “rise” we get out of each batch. All good fun.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Growing your own micro leaves - UPDATE 2


Columns from left to right: Speedy Salad Mix, Blood Veined Sorrel, Wild Rocket, Garlic Chives.

Speedy Salad Mix has consolidated its lead and started to pack on a few grams of weight in the Propagator Handicap Classic. Garlic Chives don't know whether they are coming or going with their sporadic and somewhat retarded growth pattern thus far. Wild Rocket are showing strength in numbers, but are probably to far behind Speedy Salad Mix to mount a challenge. Bringing up the rear but with Garlic Chives firmly in its sights is Blood Veined Sorel who looks to be laying a good base from which it can mount an attack on third place.

Bulls Blood (bottom left & middle), Lemon Basil (bottom right) Japanese Mizuna (top right), Swiss Chard Brightlights (top middle), Swiss Chard Yellow (top left).

Bulls Blood, Yellow Swiss Chard and Swiss Chard Bright-lights have all made great progress with Bulls Blood the more proliferate of the three with Swiss Chard Yellow very close behind. Way out in front though in the Egg Box Special are the Japanese Mizuna leaves who have made remarkable progress in the last few days. Lemon Basil has made a belated go of things, will it be able to catch Swiss Chard Brightlights is anyones guess.

The peas* are still stuck firmly in the starting pods with no sign as yet as to whether they will make a go of it at all.

Crazy scenes down here.... back to the studio.


*not pictured.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Term 2 - Week 1 & 2 @ Tante Marie

Mini coffee éclairs with boiled coffee fondant icing.

So the looong five week break is over and a return to Tante Marie for the final term of my Intensive Cordon Bleu Diploma has begun. We are in receipt of our practical exam, theory exams and wedding buffets dates as well as “The Project”.... and all I can say is that it's gonna be a busy one!

So the first week back was a mere three days long and involved gammon glazed with ginger and rum, tartelettes des desmoiselles tatin, part 1 of 3 petit fours classes and a host of theory and demonstrations. There was also the new intake of Intensive students whom are all very pleasant indeed... which also lead to a highly embarrassing moment.

There I was ratting my lunch which had been prepared by the new students, when one of the “newbies” whom I had not previously met asked if I was indeed “Dylan”. I informed her that I was indeed he, at which point she went stark raving mental, exclaiming to the world how much she loved my blog, how she had tried the baguette recipe and it works a treat, and if I could give her an autographed picture of me just wearing my apron. It was all very awkward at this point and classmates tried to remove her from my presence, she tried stealing my fork as a memento and bit poor Lulu.... it wasnt pretty*.