Here is a little starter I ‘knocked up’! We were now in the realms of Michelin Star’s, Jean-Marc was really serious about his food (I am not saying Robert was not, Jean-Marc was just a little more intense). We started to work on our first starter, simply described as Spring Vegetable Vol au Vents, yeah right!
We were all inspired by the way simple vegetables and puff pastry were taken to a level beyond very good. This ‘simple’ dish did take a lot of work, carefully preparing the vegetables, slicing the puff pastry we learnt some new tricks and techniques, (go on the course to find out what!).
Something that became very evident as we ploughed through the lovely recipe book we were presented with on arrival, the quality of the ingredients was exceptional, no expense spared, and the Chefs was of the highest calibre. I also noticed on a couple of occasions where we drifted slightly away from the supplied recipes, having to adjust as something was not available or drifting as it felt right.
I learn’t the ‘by hand’ technique in Puglia a couple of years ago on another cooking course, 00 flour is difficult to get in some parts of France so we just used normal flour, and it worked really well. The Kenwood mixer with dough hook did the ‘grunt’ and the pasta machine finished the job really well.
We used the carcass of the Lobster to make a rich sauce, that recipe is a secret, the whole dish tasted so delicious but was very light. In this part of France they seem to use Cream more than butter to enrich sauces, which brings me onto another observation, its near on impossible to find whipping Cream, i.e. Cream containing more than 30% butterfat, as we were to find out later in the week.
We learn’t lots of new skills and techniques as we prepared our first meal with Jean-Marc, he was well humored and we had great fun working out what he was saying (his English is work in progress, but better than my French). A couple of the ladies on the course speak fluent French, but Jean-Marc was always prepared to try English first so the rest of us could understand.
Next time we step into the world of Bavarois.