Le Cordon Bleu Coq au Vin

 

Coq au Vin

I learned this Coq au Vin recipe at the Le Cordon Bleu School in Paris, so it should be ‘authentic’, right? The truth is, there are quite a few variations for this dish, but they all have the same thing in common: a chicken stew cooked in wine, accompanied by mushrooms, smoked bacon and onions and sprinkled with parsley. I’ve added some homemade croutons to my dish for a French rustic touch.

Coq au Vin is a French country dish, evolved from the farm where the resident rooster was cooked in a pot when it could no longer ‘service’ the hens. The rooster’s  blood was often used to thicken the stew- in fact, we were given the option of thickening our Coq au Vin with pig’s blood at Le Cordon Bleu. (FYI, no one in my class opted to use this technique, instead thickening the sauce with butter and flour. In fact, the chef said she would refuse to taste our dish if we used the blood!).

There are some variations for this dish: the Cordon Bleu recipe recommends that you first marinate the chicken pieces in red wine, preferably overnight. As a comparison, Julia Child omits this step with her dish, getting right into cooking the chicken with the wine and stock. (I know which method I’d prefer)! Cordon Bleu also recommends cooking the chicken in both wine and aromatic vegetables, such as carrots and celery. The vegetables, which are eventually discarded, help to give your sauce a much deeper flavour at the end.

And finally, this dish is served so that you can identify each of the ingredients on the plate. In fact, most of the elements are cooked separately (i.e. the mushrooms, onions and bacon) and are then all assembled at the end. No more having the chicken and mushrooms lost in an avalanche of sauce- each ingredient ‘takes pride of place’ and can easily be identified. This dish is Country French at its best!

P.S. I’d love it if you’d ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page- it would really make my day! 

Authentic Coq au Vin
Serves 4
An authentic French stew, flavored with thick bacon, mushrooms and onions
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
Total Time
2 hr
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
Total Time
2 hr
Marinade
  1. 1 large onion, cut into wedges
  2. 2 carrots, chopped
  3. 2 celery stalks, chopped
  4. 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  5. 1 Bouquet Garni (2 bay leaves and several sprigs of thyme tied together)
  6. 8 - 10 black peppercorns
  7. 4 cups red wine
  8. 1/4 Cognac (optional)
Main Ingredients
  1. 1 chicken, cut-up into pieces, with bones in
  2. salt and pepper to season the chicken
  3. 1 - 2 cups chicken stock
  4. 1 Bouquet Garni
  5. 3 tbsp plain flour
Onion ‘Confit’
  1. 1/2 cup red wine, reduced to a glaze
  2. 1/4 cup white vinegar
  3. 1 large onion, sliced thinly
  4. 2 tbsp butter
  5. 1/4 cup water
  6. Pinch salt and sugar
  7. Binding (thickening) agent (beurre manié)
  8. 3 tbsp flour
  9. 2 tbsp softened butter
Garnish
  1. 15 - 20 button mushrooms
  2. 8 ounces speck (smoked slab bacon)
  3. 3 tbsp parsley, chopped
  4. Crusty bread rolls or baguettes, brushed with oil or butter, toasted in oven
Instructions
  1. Place all marinade ingredients in a large bowl; add the chicken pieces to the marinade, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight if possible.
  2. Remove chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towel. Set aside the marinade mixture for later.
  3. Heat several tbsps. of oil in a Dutch oven or large casserole dish. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then brown in several batches over medium high heat, about 3 minutes each side. Remove from the pan and drain the fat.
  4. Now add the following ingredients back to the Dutch oven or pan: browned chicken pieces, wine and vegetables from the marinade, flour and Bouquet Garni. Add enough of the chicken stock to cover the ingredients (1 - 2 cups of stock). Place cover on the pan and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the chicken meat is tender.
  5. While the chicken is baking, prepare the onion ‘confit.’ Place sliced onions into fry pan with some butter, add the water, pinch of salt and sugar. Cover with parchment paper and simmer over medium low heat until the oinions soften and the moisture reduces.
  6. In separate small saucepan, reduce the 1/2 cup red wine until it becomes syrup, add the vinegar and simmer for several minutes. Add this mixture to the ‘confit’ onions and set aside.
  7. Sauté the button mushrooms in butter for several minutes until soft and set aside.
  8. Cut the bacon speck into thin strips about 1 inch long and ¼ inch wide, add some oil to a fry pan and brown for several minutes over medium high heat. Remove the bacon from the pan, pat dry with a paper towel and add the bacon to the mushrooms.
  9. When the chicken pieces are cooked, remove the pan from oven, set aside the chicken pieces, strain the vegetables and herbs from the cooking liquid and discard. Reduce the cooking liquid over medium heat until it reduces to about 2/3 of the original volume. To prepare the thickening agent, massage the butter and flour together with your fingers to form a smooth paste. Beat the paste into the hot liquid with a wire whisk and simmer for several minutes until the sauce thickens. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, adjust seasoning to taste.
  10. To serve, add the ‘confit’ onion mixture to the bottom of the serving dish, arrange the chicken pieces, speck and button mushrooms around the dish and then pour some sauce on top. Be careful not to 'drown' the ingredients with the sauce, you still should be able to make out the individual ingredients in the dish.
  11. Garnish with chopped parsley and several pieces of toasted baguettes.
Adapted from Le Cordon Bleu recipe
Adapted from Le Cordon Bleu recipe
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

 

 

 

Frozen Chocolate Nougat with Sour Cherry Coulis

 Nougat
You’ll make friends for life with this recipe!

This recipe is a frozen chocolate mousse filled with some soft candied fruit, sour cherries and nougatine, a caramalized mixture of sugar and flaked almonds- a truly delightful dessert!

When you hear the word nougat (pronounced Nu-gah), you may think of the candy made of honey, sugar, candied fruit and flaked almonds- something I wasn’t particularly attracted to as a kid growing up. However, in recent years, chefs have been incorporating the concept of nougat into a frozen chocolate mousse made from whipped cream and meringue- now you can count me in!

When you bite into the frozen dessert, your senses are further awakened by the bright red cherry sauce and the sprigs of fresh mint accompanying the dish.

P.S. Would LOVE it if you’d Like my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page!

A few words about making the Nougatine filling:

First, melt 1 tbsp. butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the 1/2 cup (115 g) sugar and cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Watch carefully as the sugar can easily burn.

Nougat

Next, add the 1/2 cup (50 g) slivered almonds to the pan and stir until they turn golden brown. Transfer the mixture onto parchment paper that has been brushed with some vegetable oil and spread evenly using a spatula.

 Nougat

Let the nougatine cool, then place another piece of parchment paper on top of the mixture and crush coarsely using a rolling pin, rolling the pin back and forth across the mixture.

Nougat

Note: the recipe calls for filling the chocolate mousse with the nougatine, candied fruit and sour cherries, but you can reduce or eliminate some of the components if desired.

 Nougat

Frozen Chocolate Nougat with Sour Cherry Coulis
Serves 6
A delicious chocolate mousse filled with candied fruit, crushed nougatine and sour cherries.
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For the Nougatine
  1. 1 tbsp butter
  2. 50 g (1/2 cup) flaked almonds
  3. 115 g (1/2 cup) sugar
For the Italian Meringue
  1. 200 g (3/4 cup + 3 tbsp) sugar, cooked to 118 C (245 F)
  2. 2 tbsp water
  3. 4 egg whites
For the Frozen Chocolate Nougat
  1. 180 g (3/4 cup) dark cooking chocolate
  2. 450 (3 ½ cups) ml thick cream, whipped
  3. 80 g (1/2 cup) candied fruit, diced
  4. 40 canned sour cherries (‘Morello’ or other kind of sour cherries)
For the cherry coulis
  1. 125 ml (1/2 cup) juice from the canned sour cherries
  2. 2 tbsp sugar
  3. Dash of balsamic vinegar
For the decoration
  1. Fresh mint leaves
  2. Sour cherries
  3. Flaked almonds
  4. Crushed nougatine
To make the Nougatine
  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until the mixture turns golden brown. Add the flaked almonds and stir until they turn golden brown. Transfer the mixture to a piece of parchment paper that has been lightly brushed with vegetable oil and spread evenly with a spatula. Let cool, place another layer of parchment paper on top of the mixture and crush coarsely using a rolling pin.
To make the Italian Meringue
  1. Place the 200 g sugar in a saucepan along with 2 tbsp water. Over medium high heat, stir the sugar until it comes almost to a boiling point, reaching a maximum of 118 C (245 F). In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites with electric beaters until soft peaks form. Gradually pour the hot sugar mixture into the egg whites while continuing to mix with the electric beaters. Continue to beat until the mixture is smooth and shiny, with soft peaks forming.
To make the frozen Chocolate Nougat
  1. Whip the cream with electric beaters until soft peaks form and set aside.
  2. To melt the chocolate, place it in a heatproof bowl that fits snugly over a pot of simmering water. Heat until chocolate is completely melted. Remove bowl from heat, stir in the candied fruit and sour cherries. Now gently fold in the Italian meringue, whipped cream and crushed nougatine into the mixture, keeping the mixture light and fluffy.
  3. Pour the mixture into ring molds that have been placed on parchment-lined baking trays and place in freezer for several hours. Alternatively, you can transfer mixture into several loaf pans (7 inch by 3 inches). Before serving, prepare the sour cherry coulis: heat the juice from the canned sour cherries in a small saucepan, add the sugar and dash of balsamic vinegar, stir for several minutes until the mixture thickens.
  4. To serve, remove the frozen mixture from the ring molds by running a sharp knife around the edge of the mold and ‘push through’ the mixture onto a serving plate. Place some flaked almonds and crushed nougatine on top of the frozen nougat, a sour cherry and a mint leaf. Decorate the edge of the plate with some of the cherry coulis, sour cherries and mint leaves.
Adapted from Le Cordon Bleu
Adapted from Le Cordon Bleu
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Smoked and Fresh Salmon Roulade with Leeks

 

Smoked Salmon Mastering Seafood II

This recipe was adapted from my Superior Cuisine Class at the Paris Cordon Bleu School and even though it came from the advanced class, it is pretty easy to prepare, but still mouth-watering delicious. It combines smoked salmon with raw salmon that is first marinated in lemon juice; the citric acids in the juice wind up ‘cooking’ the salmon, so there should be no worries about eating it. All the flavors infuse together nicely: the smokiness of the salmon, the lemon juice, shallots, capers, chives- making this either a nice appetizer or mains for lunch time.

I garnished my plate with several dots of reduced balsamic vinegar and some caviar placed on top of dried coriander leaves- this helps to dress up the plate a bit.

My last post Calamari and Prawn Thai Salad, revealed that I’m in the midst of teaching a class called ‘Mastering Seafood’, so I’ll be teaching this Salmon Roulade recipe to the class. Last week, I gave the class a preliminary taste of this recipe and there were lots of ‘oohs and aahs’ being emitted! It was also great to see some of the students taking their Whole Baked Snappers out of the oven and learning new techniques of making Crab Bisque using the shells of the crabs.

 Smoke and Fresh Salmon Roulade with Leeks (see printable recipe below)

 Ingredients

  •  100 g of smoked salmon, thinly sliced
  • 200 g fresh raw salmon, thinly sliced
  • Juice from 3 lemons

 Filling for the salmon roulade

  •  2 hard-boiled egg whites
  • 2 tsp chives, diced
  • 2 tbsp shallots, diced
  • 3 tbsp ricotta cheese
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 leek (white part) sliced into julienned strips
  • 1 tbsp butter

Directions

  • Slice the fresh raw salmon into thin strips of about 2 mm or 1/8 inch thick. Marinate the salmon in the juice of 2-3 lemons for at least 30 minutes until the flesh turns a light pink. This marinade will ‘cook’ the salmon.
  • To prepare the filling, roughly chop the egg whites from two hard-boiled eggs. Add this to the bowl of a food processor along with the chives, shallots, ricotta cheese, olive oil and capers. Process until smooth and set aside. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Slice the white part of a leek in half lengthwise, then cut into thin julienne strips. Soften the leeks in a little butter in a small saucepan on the stovetop.
  • To assemble the roulade, place the thin strips of smoked salmon on a large piece of plastic wrap set on a work surface, overlapping them to form a rectangular shape about 9 inches wide (23 cm) and 5 inches long (13 cm).

Smoked Salmon

  • Spread the ricotta cheese filling in the center of the smoked salmon rectangle, leaving a margin of about one inch on the sides. Now add the thin slices of marinated fresh salmon on top of the filling, followed by a thin strip of leeks.
  • Lift the edges of the salmon mixture and begin to roll it up into a tight sausage shape, with the plastic wrap remaining on the outside of the roulade. Hold the two ends of the plastic wrap close to the salmon mixture as you roll it into the sausage shape. Tie each end tightly with some kitchen string.
  • Place the roulade in the fridge for at least two hours until the it becomes firmer and the flavors start to infuse together. Slice into rounds about 1 – 2 inches thick and serve on top of a small bed of mixed greens. Decorate the plate with some dots of reduced balsamic vinegar and dried coriander leaves, if desired.

 

Smoked and Fresh Salmon Roulade with Leeks
Serves 6
A lovely combination of fresh and smoked salmon flavors will leave you wanting more!
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Ingredients
  1. 100 g of smoked salmon, thinly sliced
  2. 200 g fresh raw salmon, thinly sliced
  3. Juice from 3 lemons
Filling for the salmon roulade
  1. 2 hard-boiled egg whites
  2. 2 tsp chives, diced
  3. 2 tbsp shallots, diced
  4. 2 tbsp ricotta cheese
  5. 3 tbsp olive oil
  6. 1 tbsp capers
  7. Salt/pepper to taste
  8. 1 leek (white part) sliced into julienned strips
  9. 1 tbsp butter (to cook the leeks in)
Instructions
  1. Slice the fresh raw salmon into thin strips of about 2 mm or 1/8 inch thick. Marinate the salmon in the juice of 2-3 lemons for at least 30 minutes until the flesh turns a light pink. This marinade will ‘cook’ the salmon.
  2. To prepare the filling, roughly chop the egg whites from two hard-boiled eggs. Add this to the bowl of a food processor along with the chives, shallots, ricotta cheese, olive oil and capers. Process until smooth and set aside.
  3. Slice the white part of a leek in half lengthwise, then cut into thin julienne strips. Soften the leeks in a little butter in a small saucepan on the stovetop.
  4. To assemble the roulade, place the thin strips of smoked salmon on a large piece of plastic wrap set on a work surface, overlapping them to form a rectangular shape about 9 inches wide (23 cm) and 5 inches long (13 cms).
  5. Spread the ricotta cheese filling in the center of the smoked salmon rectangle, leaving a margin of about one inch on the sides. Now add the thin slices of marinated fresh salmon on top of the filling, followed by a thin strip of leeks.
  6. Begin to roll-up the salmon mixture into a tight sausage shape, with the plastic wrap remaining on the outside of the roulade. Hold the two ends of the plastic wrap close to the salmon mixture as you roll it into the sausage shape. Tie each end tightly with some kitchen string.
  7. Place the roulade in the fridge for at least two hours until the roulade becomes firmer and the flavours start to infuse together. Slice into rounds about 1 – 2 inches thick and serve on top of a small bed of mixed greens. Decorate the plate with some dots of reduced balsamic vinegar and dried coriander leaves, if desired.
Adapted from Cordon Bleu Cooking School
Adapted from Cordon Bleu Cooking School
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Fish Fillets in White Wine Sauce (Filets de Poisson Dugléré)

 

Fish Fillet

Filets de Poisson Dugléré

This is a dish that I learned at the Le Cordon Bleu School in Paris and it has a very special background. It was invented by the French chef, Adolf Dugléré (1805 – 1884) who was chef for the Rothschild family and was named the ‘Mozart of Chefs’ by Rossini. Dugléré eventually became the head chef of Café Anglais, the most famous Paris restaurant of the 19th century.

Despite its distinguished background, this dish is not too difficult to make. I recently taught this recipe to my French Cooking Class in Adelaide and everyone gave it the thumbs up (and seemed to enjoy filleting their own fish)!

Adolf Dugléré

Chef-Adolphe-Dugléré

Any fish recipe served Dugléré- style means it is cooked with diced tomatoes, onions and parsley and is topped with a delicious buttery sauce made with fish stock. You will get the best result by using real homemade fish stock,  but store-bought stock will be alright.

For my home-made fish stock, I filleted my fish (snapper) and used the bones to make the stock. The fish bones are added to a pan with water, white wine, some onion and shallots and some herbs- the stock only needs 20 minutes to cook. (For detailed instructions on how to fillet a fish, refer to my post How to Fillet a Fish- and not die trying!)

Home-made Fish Stock

Ingredients

  • Fish bones
  • 1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 garlic clove, flattened
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • several sprigs each of parsley and thyme
  • 100 ml dry white wine
  • water

Directions

  • Fillet the fish. Chop the fish bones into several parts using a cleaver; let soak in a pan of water for several minutes to remove any impurities. (You can use the head of the fish to make the stock, but you should remove the eyes first).
  • Remove the skin from the fish and any small pin-bones from the flesh. Set the fish aside.
  • To make the fish stock, roughly chop the onion and shallots and flatten the garlic clove. Add the butter to a large saucepan and sweat these veggies until translucent. Add the fish bones, white wine, parsley and thyme to the pan; add enough water to cover the bones and the other ingredients. Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes and then strain.

You now have your fresh fish stock (‘liquid gold’) ready to make the rest of the dish.

Fish Fillets in White Wine Sauce (Filets de Poisson Dugléré)

Recipe adapted from Le Cordon Bleu Paris

Sauce

  • 100 ml white wine
  • 300 – 400 ml fish stock (homemade or store-bought)
  • 125 g butter
  • salt/pepper

Vegetable Garnish

  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 3 medium or large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

Directions

  • Prepare the vegetable garnish: remove the skins from the tomatoes: remove the top core of each tomato and place an ‘x’ on the bottom. Place each tomato into a pan of boiling water until the skin loosens. Remove from the pan and immediately place into a bowl of ice water to stop further cooking of the tomato. Remove the tomato skins and cut into quarters. Remove the seeds and then finely dice the tomatoes.
  • Chop finely the ½ onion and two shallots.
  • Butter a fry pan generously. Over medium heat, add the onions and shallots first to the pan, then add the tomatoes and fish pieces. Season with salt and pepper, then add the 100 ml wine on top.

Duglere tomates

 

  • When the fish stock is ready, pour this over the fish mxture, just enough to cover the fish and vegetables. Cover and cook over medium heat for 7-8 minutes until the fish is cooked (do not over-cook).
  • Finish the sauce: remove the fish from the pan and cover with foil. Let the sauce reduce for 6-10 minutes, then gradually add 125 g cold butter cubes to thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Duglere sauce

  • To Plate: place one piece of fish in the centre of the plate, then top with some of the sauce. Sprinkle with the diced parsley.

Duglere

 

 

 

 

Lamb en croûte with Provencal Vegetables

 

    Lamb Crust Bird's eye 2 What’s a world-famous French cooking school like Cordon Bleu doing teaching recipes using ingredients from Tunisia? I thought French cooking was supposed to be very traditionelle –  dishes like Coq au Vin, Quiche Lorraine and Cassoulet. Imagine my surprise then when we were handed sheets of Brik Pastry (warka dough) from Tunisia to make a version of Lamb en Croûte (lamb wrapped in pastry dough).

It turns out that the Cordon Bleu school, although still focussing on traditional French cuisine, is introducing its students to dishes and ingredients from other parts of the world-  such as ceviche, guacamole and brik pastry from Tunisia.

Brik pastry is a wafer-thin pastry, originating from the Maghreb region in North Africa. Made of wheat flour, oil, salt and water, it is similar to filo pastry, but without all the drama of it flaking apart in your hands. It also has a much lighter, crunchier texture than filo and can be shallow or deep fried without soaking up large amounts of oil.

So hooray for brik pastry!– no more laborious rolling out of traditional pastry dough to make my lamb en croûte. All that’s required for my dish is to first make a mousse stuffing, using some chicken breast mixed with minced pine nuts and pistachios. The lamb fillet and stuffing are then rolled up in several sheets of brik pastry, lightly fried on the stove top and then served with some lamb jus. When served with a side of potato wedges and cherry tomatoes Provence-style (i.e. brushed with olive oil and dusted with some dried thyme) you might be forgiven for thinking you were dining somewhere in the south of France (or would it be Tunisia)?

Ingredients

  • 1 lamb fillet (backstrap)

For the Mousse Stuffing

  • 50 g pistachios
  • 50 g pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • parsley, coriander and basil (3 sprigs each)
  • splash of olive oil
  • 50 g chicken breast
  • 1/2 egg white
  • 30 ml thickened cream

For the Lamb Jus

  • Lamb bones (3 – 4 small/medium pieces)
  • 150 ml beef stock
  • 50 ml red wine

Provencal Vegetables

  • Potato wedges
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Dried thyme and olive oil

 Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 180 C (350 F).
  • Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Add olive oil to pan and brown over medium high heat, about three minutes each side. Wrap in foil and place in oven for approximately 4 – 5 minutes. Lamb will be cooked to the right consistency when it is pink in the center. Let the meat cool to room temperature then place in fridge. Reduce the oven temperature to 140 C (280 F).
  • Prepare the lamb jus: brown the lamb bones in oil over medium high heat (use same pan that the lamb was cooked in). Remove the bones from pan and let drain on kitchen paper. Drain the excess oil from the pan. Return the bones to the pan, add the beef stock and wine. Let simmer on medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Remove the bones from the pan and simmer for a few more minutes.
  • Prepare the chicken mousse: slice the chicken breast into cubes, place in food processor with 1/2 egg white, thickened cream, drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. Process until smooth and remove from the processor bowl.
  • Place the pine nuts and pistachios on a baking sheet and toast in the oven at 140 C for several minutes until the pine nuts turn a light brown. Remove the nuts from the oven and pulse in the food processor until the are finely minced. Roughly chop the garlic, parsley, coriander and basil sprigs and add to the processor with the nuts. Add the chicken mousse and a splash of olive oil and pulse all ingredients until smooth.

  • Place two sheets of the Brik Pastry (warka dough) on your workbench and overlap them in the center. Brush entire surface of the dough (including edges) with egg white.

Lamb Crust (7of 7) (1 of 1)

  •  Spread the stuffing on the bottom of the dough, to fit the width of the lamb- leave a small margin on the sides.

  • Remove the lamb from the fridge and place on top of the stuffing.

  • Spread some more stuffing on top of the lamb, then roll up the dough and lamb until it meets the half-way mark.

  • Fold the sides inward then continue to roll up the dough until finished. (If any of the dough starts to break apart, you can fix it by brushing some egg white on it).

  • Heat some oil in pan and brown the rolled pastry starting with the seam side facing down. Remove from pan.
  • To prepare the potatoes, cut them in wedges with the skin on. Cook in boiling salted water until the potatoes start to soften (do not over cook). Place some melted butter in a baking pan or casserole dish with some dried thyme. Toss the potatoes in this mixture until thoroughly coated. Bake at 180 C (350 F) for about 10-15 minutes until the potatoes turn golden brown.
  • Brush the cherry tomatoes with olive oil and drizzle with a little salt and dried thyme. Place in oven for 10 minutes until the tomatoes soften.
  • Serve the sliced lamb pieces on a plate, top with some of the lamb jus, serve with some potato wedges and cherry tomatoes on the side.

 

Verrine with marinated shrimp, artichoke hearts and garlic mousse

    Verrine 1 of 1

I’m sorry it’s been so long since I updated my blog but I’ve been Sooooo Busy lately-      I just graduated from Superior Cuisine at the Le Cordon Bleu school in Paris! This course was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Not only did we have to attend 30 demonstrations and practical classes, but we had to design a menu for our final exam and execute it in 4 hours (and write up a dossier in French describing our ingredients and technique). Here is a picture taken of me at the graduation ceremony with my favourite chef, Marc Vaca.

I did it!

LCB Graduation chef Vaca

What is a picture of a verrine doing at the top of my blog page? Well, for my recent final exam at Le Cordon Bleu, we had to invent a verrine using ingredients from a prescribed list. I had never heard of a verrine before coming to Paris to study at the Cordon Bleu school, but they have become popular in France over the past 10 years, and have now made their way to the U.S. and other countries.

What is a Verrine?

A verrine is layered food presented in a glass, usually for an appetizer or dessert. It can be served hot or cold, but if you’re presenting a hot verrine, be sure to use an ovenproof glass without a stem. Verrines are a great way to show off your creativity by using different colors and textures and you can even introduce an element of surprise for your guests (maybe add a quail’s egg at the bottom of your verrine)?

For my verrine, I used marinated shrimp and artichoke hearts nestled in a tomato concassé base and topped with a delicious garlic mousse. We also had to garnish the verrine with a croustillant, or something crunchy, so I used potato chips that I cut in a waffle shape using my mandoline slicer. If you’re not a fan of garlic, don’t be turned off by the garlic mousse. The garlic is first roasted in the oven and the pulp is then folded into some whipped cream with a pinch of salt- producing a nice mild flavour.

So, here is my verrine recipe for Marinated shrimp and artichoke hearts with concassé tomatoes and garlic mousse. The recipe serves 4 people.

Step 1: Roast the garlic head for the garlic mousse

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Slice off the top of a garlic head, revealing a little of the insides of the garlic cloves (a bread knife is handy here). Remove some of the papery outer layers. Brush the top of the garlic head with some olive oil, cover with aluminium foil and bake in the oven until the garlic softens, usually about 30 – 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Cut off top of garlic head, brush with oil and bake in aluminium foil Verrine Garlic  Step 2: Marinate the shrimp and artichoke hearts. While the garlic is roasting in the oven, marinate the shrimp and artichoke hearts. (For my exam, I had to cook my artichokes from scratch in order to get the artichoke hearts, but you can buy them in a jar in a supermarket).Best to use raw shrimp: remove the heads and shells of 4 shrimps or prawns and then coat both the shrimp and 4 artichoke hearts in olive oil and the juice and zest of one lemon. Let marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes (longer, if possible).

After the shrimp are marinated, pan fry them in a little butter for a few minutes until cooked through and then chop them into small pieces.

Step 3: Prepare the Tomato Concassé

Tomato Concassé refers to tomatoes that have been skinned, seeded and chopped into pieces. For detailed instructions on how to skin and seed tomatoes, click here.  Add 4 diced tomatoes to a saucepan and add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the juice and zest of 1/2 lemon and 4 tablespoons of white wine to the mixture. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until the mixture becomes soft. Add some water to the pan if the mixture becomes too dry. 

 Step 4: Prepare the Garlic Mousse

Squeeze the garlic pulp out of each garlic clove and mash into a smooth paste. Whip 90 ml (3/4 cup) of thickened cream with electric beaters until stiff peaks are formed. Gradually fold in the mashed garlic paste into the cream until the mixture is smooth. The garlic taste should not overwhelm the mousse; adjust the amount of garlic paste accordingly. Add a pinch of salt.

Step 5: Prepare the Waffle-shaped potato chips

Peel a small or medium potato. Slice thin pieces using a mandoline; I used a special attachment on my mandoline to produce a ‘waffle’ pattern. Fry the potato chips for several minutes in hot oil until they turn a golden brown.

 Step 6: Assemble the Verrine

Place the tomato concassé mixture in the bottom of the verrine and add several pieces of the chopped shrimp and diced artichoke hearts. Spread some garlic mousse on top and finish with several potato chips and a piece of coriander on top.

Verrine 1 of 1

Lobster Chartreuse – from my Paris balcony

 

Lobster

It’s not easy photographing food inside a small Paris apartment. I don’t have the advantage of the large expanse of light coming in from my living room window in Australia. There’s just a small kitchen window here next to my work bench and when the sun passes over this area, I then walk 15 steps to the other side of the apartment to catch the light from my little front balcony. So it’s here that I photographed my next dish Lobster Chartreuse.

This recipe is an adaptation from a dish we learned during the advanced course at the Paris Le Cordon Bleu school. We weren’t told why it is called ‘Lobster Chartreuse’. Chartreuse is the name of a liqueur, however we didn’t use any of that in the recipe. Anyway, it’s a catchy name, so let’s just leave it at that.

This recipe pairs freshly cooked lobster and a rich sauce with fresh fruit and candied orange and lemon peel.  It appeals to most of the senses: visual, smell and most of all, taste- so you can have it all!

I used fresh lobster that I bought from my local Paris fish monger, but you can use already prepared lobster meat. The recipe is a bit fiddly, requiring making a fresh sauce and then assembling the carrot and radish pieces inside the ring mold. But, if you want to impress your guests or family on a special occasion, this is it! 

LOBSTER CHARTREUSE

Ingredients

  • 1 Lobster (live or fresh)
  • 1 large leek (white part)
  • 1 long daikon radish or 2 smaller round ones
  • 2 carrots
  • softened butter for the ring molds

For the Mousse stuffing

  • 60 g white fish meat (raw)
  • 1 egg white
  • 60 ml cream
  • salt/pepper

For the candied orange and lemon peel

  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • syrup

Lobster Sauce

  • shells from the lobster
  • green part of the leek, chopped
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • tomato paste
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 150 ml fish or chicken stock
  • salt/pepper

Garnish

  • 100 g baby spinach leaves
  • candied orange and lemon peel

Directions

  • Prepare the lobster: there are several ways to ‘terminate’ a lobster, but I used a large knife to cut through its head. Separate the head from the body and then separate the large claws from the body. Place the body and claws in boiling water; cook the body for about 5 minutes and the large claws for about 7 minutes. Remove from the water and let cool.
  • Remove the meat from the body and tail section by turning it over and cutting through the lobster’s ‘underbelly’ using kitchen scissors and then removing the meat.

Cut through ‘underbelly’ of lobster to remove the meat

Lobster (3 of 3) (1 of 1)

  • To remove the meat from the large claws, some people advise cracking them open using the back of a large knife. This didn’t work for me since the claws were very thick and hard. Instead I cracked them open by using a medium-sized rock from the garden (smashing down on the claws). My husband gave me this brilliant idea, I was at a loss of what to do next!
  • Prepare the lobster sauce: chop up the green leafy part of a leek, then dice 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 onion and 1 tomato. Add these ingredients to a pan with hot oil, then add the lobster shells. Lower the heat and stir until the vegetables are soft. Add the tomato paste, white wine and fish (or chicken) stock. Let simmer for at least 20 minutes. Strain through a sieve and then reduce the sauce to about 50% of its previous volume.

 Add the lobster shells to a pan with the vegetables, wine and tomato pasteLobster 4 of 4) (1 of 1)

  •  Prepare the candied orange and lemon peel: cut the orange and lemon peel into very fine julienne slices. Bring to boil 1 cup water with 3/4 sugar to form a syrup. Cook the orange and lemon peel in the syrup until they become soft and candied.
  • Prepare the mousse stuffing: place the raw white fish (I used whiting) into a blender, along with the egg white, salt and pepper. Pulse until smooth then add the cream. The stuffing should hold together like a smooth paste.
  • Slice the white part of a leek into thin circles about 1/4 inch wide. Place them in a single layer into a pan with a little butter and water. Cook them over low heat for several minutes until they are softened.
  • Slice the carrots and daikon radish into thin strips about 1/2 inch wide and the height of your ring mold. Cook in simmering, salted water until the veggies are cooked ‘al dente’- with a bit of a crunch still remaining in the texture.
  • Assemble the ingredients in the ring mold: butter the inside of your ring mold with softened butter. Place the mold on top of a piece of plastic wrap and then cut a circle of baking paper to fit the bottom of your mold. Place the carrot and radish strips vertically inside the mold, alternating between the two and overlapping the strips. Bring the plastic wrap to fit up over the sides of the mold. You will be placing this mold into a warm water bath (bain marie) to cook the lobster chartreuse.

  Alternate the carrot and daikon radish strips inside the ring mold

  • First, place a layer of the cooked white leek circles on the bottom of the mold, then add a layer of the mousse stuffing, followed by a layer of loose lobster meat (retain the meat of the lobster tail and claws to decorate the plate). Add a bit of the reduced lobster sauce the repeat the whole process.

Layer the inside of the ring mold with white leeks, mousse stuffing and lobster meat.

  • Finish with a thin layer of the mousse stuffing on top. Bake in a bain marie 180 C (360 F) for about 15-20 minutes until the top part of the mold becomes firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool for several minutes and release the lobster chartreuse from the  ring mold.

Finish with a layer of mousse stuffing on top- place in bain marie to cook in oven

  • To plate the dish, add a layer of cooked baby spinach on the plate. Place the ring mold on top of the spinach and gently remove it. Place some of the candied orange and lemon pieces on top, lay the meat from the lobster body and claw on the side of the plate. Place a few orange slices on the side and arrange some of the reduced sauce around the lobster pieces.

 Lobster

 

 

 

 

My Paris- Quail stuffed with shitake mushrooms with sweetbreads and glazed onions

 

Quail

DANS LE FOUR, MADAME- DANS LE FOUR!” the French Chef shouted at me during my class at the Paris Cordon Bleu School. We were making ‘Quail stuffed with shitake mushrooms with veal sweetbreads and glazed pearl onions.’ I was late in putting my quail in the oven to cook and the supervising chef was telling me to hurry up and put it in the oven (le four) to cook.

But who could blame me for being late when we had so many steps to complete for this dish! First, we had to de-bone a quail, which almost required the skill of a micro-surgeon. Have you seen how tiny a quail is?

A lot of poultry in France is sold with the head of the bird still attached to the body, so the customer can readily see what kind of bird you are buying. So my quail arrived at my work station with its head still in tact. I stroked the feathers of the head and they felt so soft, compared to the rest of the body. I hesitated, almost not wanting to wake up this ‘sleeping bird.’

Awwww!

Quail 2 of 2) (1 of 1)

After removing the head, we cut out a small hole in the backside of the quail and pulled out the heart, liver and all of the other insides and then removed the ‘wishbone’ (if you can find it). Then taking a paring knife, we delicately reached inside the quail and scraped the meat away from the bones, without tearing the skin. This was not an easy feat, but my mission was accomplished- at the end, my quail looked like a tiny ‘quail suit,’ empty of its bones (except the leg bones, which were left in).

De-boned Quail – ready to be stuffed

Quail 3 of 3) (1 of 1)

We then trussed the bird using a 10 inch long trussing needle- it seemed rather ridiculous using such a large needle to truss such a small bird, but we’re all here at Le Cordon Bleu to learn new techniques, right?

The final dish included the quail stuffed with diced shitake mushrooms and chicken livers and also veal sweetbreads cooked in a delicious braising liquid. This braising liquid included a mirepoix of diced carrots, celery and onions, red wine, veal stock and was also flavoured with the quail bones. Sweetbreads (ris de veau) are made from an animal’s pancreas or thymus glands. I’m usually not fond of organ meat, but this tasted delicious when served with the sauce made from the reduced braising liquid.

Sweetbreads – from animal’s pancreas or thymus glands

SweetbreadsAnd what was the overall verdict for this dish? I usually don’t care for quail too much, since there is not very much meat on this bird. However, the shitake mushroom and chicken liver stuffing ‘plumped up’ the quail nicely and added a delicious texture to the dish. Yes, I’ll be trying this dish again one day, but next time I’ll be sure to put the quail earlier dans le four!

You can also serve the quail cut in half to reveal the stuffing

Quail (4 of 4) (1 of 1)

 P.S. Please also refer to my post Julia Child’s Boned Duck Baked in Pastry.

 

 

Le Cordon Bleu: Sea Bass Coulibiac + Stuffed Tomatoes

 

Fish Pie (1 of 1) (1 of 1)My next lesson at the Cordon Bleu school in Paris was given by Chef Patrick Terrien, who will be retiring next week after 15 years at the school. Yes, we will miss him!

The recipe here is Sea Bass Coulibiac and tomatoes stuffed with Broccio Cheese (Bar en croute facon coulibiac, avec tomates farcies au broccio). Coulibiac (or ‘fish pie’) is a Russian-inspired dish included in Escoffier’s famous cookbook, “The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery.” Reportedly, Russians used to put various ingredients in their pie, like cabbage and sturgeon, but we used Sea Bass and even hard-boiled quail eggs.

It’s a truly delicious dish, especially when served with a creamy beurre blanc sauce.

First, we gutted and filleted a 1 kg (2.2 pound) Sea Bass, a fish with a nice flaky texture and thankfully, not too much ‘pin boning’ required.(It still takes me about 10 minutes to fillet a fish, while professionals do it in less than 2 minutes)!

 Fish Pie (2 of 2) (1 of 1)

We then made a yeast dough, letting it double in size, before rolling it out in a rectangular shape.Fish Pie (3 of 3) (1 of 1)Next, we made a delicious filling made of rice, fresh tarragon, diced salmon, diced mushrooms and fresh quail eggs. The filling was then layered with alternating rows of the sea bass fillets. The quail eggs are optional, but they do look ‘cute’ when you slice into the pie and see them hiding there! The layered filling is then wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, cooled in the fridge and then unwrapped on top of the dough.

 The dough is then folded inwards, starting with one long edge and followed by the two sides. We then added some dough decorations, brushed the dough with water or egg wash, then baked in the oven for 35 minutes.

 Fish Pie ( 9 of 9) (1 of 1) This dish is then topped off with a delicious beurre blanc sauce and served with  tomatoes stuffed with Broccio cheese. Broccio cheese is a soft cheese from Corsica, but you could also use Ricotta cheese instead.

Fish Pie (1 of 1) (1 of 1)And what was the result from my class practical? The chef said my dish was ‘delicious’ but scolded me for not keeping my work station clean. No matter how hard I try, it seems that liquids keep on bubbling out of my pans onto the stove surface- impossible to keep immaculate!

Please join me later for my next blog, Boned Quail stuffed with Shitake Mushrooms!

Note: this recipe is quite long, adapted from Le Cordon Bleu recipe. You can shorten the recipe by leaving out the beurre blanc sauce and the stuffed tomatoes.

Sea Bass Coulibiac + Tomatoes Stuffed with Broccio Cheese
Serves 4
Fish pie with a Russian influence, served with cocktail style tomatoes stuffed with broccio cheese
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Ingredients
  1. 1 raw sea bass, filleted (or other white fish such as snapper, cod or John Dory)
Pastry Crust
  1. 400 g (3 cups) white flour
  2. 20 g (3 tbsp) fresh compressed yeast
  3. 125 ml (1/2 cup) warm water
  4. 1 tbsp sugar
  5. Pinch salt
  6. 4 tbsp oil
  7. 2 eggs
Filling (stuffing)
  1. 100 g (1/2 cup) short-grain rice, cooked
  2. 1 medium onion, diced
  3. 1 cup fresh uncooked salmon
  4. ½ bunch tarragon
  5. 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  6. 120 g diced mushrooms (about 2 cups)
  7. 8 quail eggs (optional)
  8. 20 g (3 tbsp) fresh breadcrumbs
  9. Salt/pepper to taste
Beurre blanc sauce
  1. 3 shallots, finely chopped
  2. 60 ml (1/4 cup) white vinegar
  3. 60 ml (1/4 cup) white wine vinegar
  4. 85 ml (1/3 cup) heavy cream
  5. 140 g (5 oz) cold butter, cubed
  6. Salt/white pepper
Tomatoes stuffed with broccio (or ricotta) cheese
  1. 8 vine-ripened cocktail (small) tomatoes
  2. 150 g broocio (or ricotta) cheese
  3. 2 tbsp olive oil infused with chopped thyme
  4. Salt/pepper
  5. 1 basil sprig
Instructions
  1. Prep Work: Cook 1 cup short-grain rice: bring 2 cups water to the boil, add the rice and cover with lid, reduce heat to low simmer, cook for 20 minutes or so until the rice is cooked and all moisture has been absorbed. Cook the quail eggs in low boiling water for several minutes and remove from heat.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 C (360 F)
  3. Prepare Dough: Add 20 g compressed yeast to 125 ml warm water. Add the sugar and salt to the yeast mixture. Add the flour, eggs and 4 tbsp oil. First, beat the eggs individually in a separate bowl, then add to the dough mixture. Knead on flowered surface, put in metal bowl, cover with cloth or paper towel. Let rise until double in size.
  4. Prepare the Sea Bass or other white fish- make sure the skin has been removed from the fish and all bones removed. Season with salt and pepper and place in fridge while preparing the filling.
  5. Prepare the Filling: Slice the salmon into small cubes (skin removed) and set aside. Finely chop the onion, add to fry pan with butter and little salt; cover with cartouche (parchment paper) and let onion soften for several minutes.
  6. Slice the mushrooms finely; Sweat the mushrooms in a little butter with some salt until soft. In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, cooked onions, cooked mushrooms, breadcrumbs, finely chopped tarragon (1/2 bunch), chopped parsley and uncooked salmon cubes, salt & pepper.
  7. Assemble the Coulibiac Filling (refer to the photos with instructions): Spread some filling on top of a sheet of plastic wrap (equal to the length of your fish), then add one slice of Sea Bass or other fish on top followed by ½ of the salmon cubes. Add another layer of filling, then a line of 8 quail eggs touching each other (optional). Repeat the layering as follows: add another layer of filling, a second piece of sea bass, then more filling. Next, roll the cling wrap tightly into a sausage shape, twist ends together and tuck ends under, put into fridge to cool.
  8. Prepare Beurre Blanc sauce: Prepare the reduction: add 3 finely diced shallots to sauce pan with the white wine vinegar and white wine. Reduce until a glaze forms. Whisk in cold butter cubes a little at a time until thickened. Stir in the cream and strain the sauce. Season with salt and white pepper.
  9. Prepare Dough: After dough has risen, punch it down and rollout into a rectangular shape on a lightly floured surface. Unwrap the filling from the plastic wrapping and place over dough leaving a margin around sides. Brush outer edges with water. Close one long edge into middle (one farthest away from you), then close the two sides inward (trim a little dough from corners before folding them inward) then fold the other long edge last. Flip dough over so seams are tucked under.
  10. Brush outside of dough with water with egg wash. Add decorations if desired (the chef placed 3-4 thin ropes of dough and several pom poms around the pastry). Brush with egg wash again.
  11. Prepare Tomatoes: Cut off very tops and bottoms of the small ‘cocktail’ tomatoes. Scoop out insides with mellon baller. Add some olive oil and salt into a small casserole dish- add the tomatoes into the casserole with the top side facing up (fill pan with sides of tomatoes touching).
  12. Place the broccio or ricotta cheese into a bowl. Add some chopped basil, thyme-infused oil, and salt/pepper. Place into piping bag and pipe into the tomato shells. Place tops back onto the tomatoes and heat in oven for 5 minutes (not too hot).
  13. To plate: Slice one piece of the coulibiac pastry onto the plate, add several stuffed tomatoes, basil leaves and a smear of the beurre blanc sauce.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

 

 

 

Le Cordon Bleu: John Dory Fillets with red spices, wild rice and tropical fruit

 

 

John Dory( 4 of 4) (1 of 1)

This was our first Practical class in Superior Cuisine at the Paris Le Cordon Bleu school. First, we watched a 2.5 hour demonstration (“demo”) followed by a 2.5 hour practical session held in a smaller room with 10 stoves. I was rather nervous beforehand; I wanted to make sure I got a good position at the communal work station, which would be close to the dish washing station. Otherwise, you have to traipse across the room to frequently get your pots and pans washed by the plongeurs. Yay, I was able to get a good spot!

The dish that we prepared today was John Dory fillets with red spices, wild rice with tropical fruit and red kidney bean “French fries” (Effeuillée de Saint-Pierre aux Épices Rouges, Riz Sauvage aux Fruits Exotiques, Frites de Haricots Rouges). This dish doesn’t sound ‘French’ I hear you say? Well, we’re now getting into fusion cooking in the Superior class, working with influences from other types of cuisines. (I have a feeling I may have seen the last of heavy French creams and buttery recipes? Maybe not)!

For this recipe, we had to first cook Wild Rice, which we were told was not a member of the rice family, but is actually a grain. This was then blended with some diced papaya and mango fruit. Then we were each given a John Dory fish to fillet (called Saint-Pierre in French). Thank goodness the fish had already been gutted, but we had to each completely fillet the fish ourselves. This was not an easy task since this fish is rather big (1.5 kilos or 3.3 pounds) and has a very tough exterior and big back bone. No dramas here- I got this task done alright.

John Dory Fish (Saint-Pierre)

John Dory( 3 of 3) (1 of 1)

We then had to make a sauce for the fish, flavoured from the fish bones, onion, garlic, diced papaya and mango, white wine, lime juice and Tandoori spices. I like tropical fruit, so this sauce was a nice variation from the usual buttery French sauces often used in fish recipes. The sauce was reduced, then finished off with some diced cilantro and a little butter to thicken.

For an added touch, we made some red kidney bean ‘French fries.’ This consisted of puréed kidney beans rolled into a ball shape, then breaded and deep-fried. These were then placed on the plate as a sort of decoration. Frankly, I thought these ‘French fries’ were a bit strange. Instead, it would be better to use puréed potatoes in place of the kidney beans- why mess with ‘French fries’ by changing the consistency to red kidney beans?

All in all, the dish had a interesting fruity taste, which contrasted nicely with the wild rice (riz sauvage). And thanks to one of my classmates who helped me at the last minute to get my food plated up in time!

During the class demonstration, the chef also made a dish called Smoked Surf and Turf Duo, which consisted of smoked eel, salmon, vainaigrette dressing, a sauce and Beetroot Mousse which was sprayed from a siphon ‘whipped cream’ dispenser. The topping almost looks like cherries (which I love) but is actually sliced beets.

John Dory (2 of 2) (1 of 1)

Please join me for the next blog of my Cordon Bleu experience: Sea Bass Coulibiac with Tomatoes Stuffed with Broccio Cheese.

 

John Dory fillets with red spices, tropical fruit and kidney bean "French fries"
Serves 4
A French fish dish with an Indian twist
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Ingredients
  1. 1 John Dory fish
  2. 2 tbsp Tandoori spice
  3. 1 tsp satay sauce
  4. 2 tbsp olive oil
For the Wild Rice with Tropical Fruit
  1. 1 cup wild rice
  2. 2 cups water
  3. ½ mango, finely diced (keep trimmings)
  4. ½ papaya, finely diced (keep trimmings)
  5. 500 g spinach leaves
  6. 2 tbsp butter
For the Sauce
  1. Olive Oil
  2. ½ onion, chopped
  3. 2 garlic cloves
  4. 1 tbsp Tandoori spice blend *
  5. 1 tsp turmeric
  6. ¼ cup white wine
  7. Coriander (cilantro) stems
  8. 1 strip lime peel
  9. Papaya and mango trimmings
  10. Juice of 1 lime
  11. Finish
  12. Coriander, finely chopped
  13. 1 tbsp butter
For the Red Kidney Bean ‘French Fries’
  1. 250 g red kidney beans, canned or dried
For the Bread Crumbs
  1. 1 egg
  2. Flour
  3. Fresh breadcrumbs
Instructions
  1. If you purchase the John Dory whole, clean and fillet the fish and soak the bones in water to remove any impurities. Alternatively, you can buy the fish already cleaned and filleted. Slice the John Dory fillets into pieces about 3-4 inches long. In a small bowl, combine the tandoori spice mixture, satay sauce and olive oil. Roll the fish pieces in the mixture and let marinate while you prepare the remaining recipe.
  2. To prepare the wild rice, bring 2 cups water to a boil, add the 1 cup rice, cover and let simmer on low until the rice is cooked (check directions on package for cooking times).
  3. To prepare the sauce, sweat the onion and garlic in the olive oil until softened. Strain the fish bones and add to the pan, along with the lime peel and trimmings from the papaya and mango. Add the remaining ingredients: tandoori spice, turmeric, white wine and coriander stems; add enough water to cover the ingredients and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Strain the ingredients and let simmer for another 10 minutes until the mixture reduces in volume. Add the butter and whisk until the sauce thickens a little and season with the lime juice and salt, if required. Add the finely chopped coriander.
  4. To finish off the wild rice, add a small amount of butter to the rice along with the diced papaya and mango. Add salt and pepper to taste and combine all ingredients. If the rice is dry, moisten with a little bit of the sauce.
To prepare the kidney bean “French Fries”
  1. Drain the liquid from the canned kidney beans, add 1 egg yolk and a splash of cream and ‘mash’ the beans to a pulp using a food processor. Spread the mixture into a shallow bowl or pan and place in freezer for one hour to chill the mixture. (Note: if using dried beans, cook for then for several hours in a pan of water until softened).
  2. When the mixture has been chilled but not frozen, form into small balls. Dust each ball first with white flour, then dip into a pan containing egg wash, then roll evenly with fresh breadcrumbs. Deep fry the balls in vegetable oil or in a deep fryer at 180 C until golden brown.
To finish
  1. Place the 500 g spinach in a large saucepan containing 1 tbsp melted butter. Over medium heat, stir the spinach until the leaves soften and release moisture.
  2. To plate, make sure all ingredients have been re-warmed. Place a circular ring mold on a plate, press some spinach onto the bottom of the mold, followed by some wild rice. Release the mold, then place one fish fillet on top of the rice with several of the round kidney bean balls. Add several pieces of diced mango fruit and spoon some of the sauce along the sides of the rice/fish mixture.
Notes
  1. * Tandoori spice mix includes ginger, cumin, paprika, cinnamon and other spices. You can buy this mixture in specialty stores or make your own- find the recipe at the following link http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/tandoori-rub-240755
Adapted from Le Cordon Bleu
Adapted from Le Cordon Bleu
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/