Lunch done, Let’s Prepare Dinner!

Monday morning’s time in the kitchen with Jean-Marc was really good fun. We had been chopping, mixing, constructing, making sorbets and ice creams,  and to be honest, what we ended up with tasted very good indeed. Dessert was simple (a slight relief), but even simple can take your tastebuds to the moon and back.

‘Fraises’ or Strawberries as we know them, they were abundant in all the markets and featured heavily in our dessert combining a Puree, a marination in Balsamic Vinegar Basil Ice-Cream, and some ‘Nut Crumble’ we had left over from the previous days efforts to provide some texture, it was very good and you can see the dish in the featured image at the head of this blog post.photo-03-06-2019-15-31-58.jpgLobster is a delicate meat and was to be part of our evenings menu, very nice indeed.

The next few hours were going to be even more testing with ‘Pastilla’ as the main feature for this evening. A Moroccan dish traditionally made with Pigeon, this was an interesting  interpretation and one I was looking forward too as I had made a ‘Yotam Ottolenghi’ version some months back, and posted the exercise on the blog, it took hours to make!photo-03-06-2019-15-49-15.jpg Having cooked the Lobster for a couple of minutes after dispatching it using a knife through the………you don’t want to hear that I guess, but we were using the freshest high quality produce as is always the case at The French House Party.

Jean-Marc, who owns Le Puits du Trésor (The Treasure Well), a 1 Michelin starred restaurant in nearby Lastours (The Towers), brings the most amazing ingredients that are fit for only the best restaurants, but still available in the High Street or online so we could reproduce all that we made.

Nothing is wasted and the Lobster Shells were cooked on a high heat before adding Shallots and Garlic, Water and Tomato Paste to make a rich, tasty lobster sauce which was reduced by over half to make it thick and umptious, yummy!photo-03-06-2019-16-37-47.jpgAnyone for Daiquoise with Apricots? My piping needs a lot of practise, it started well, going from the centre but I was a bit lop sided and you can see what it ended up like. As it was going to be covered in all sorts of yumminess it wasn’t a problem.Photo 03-06-2019, 18 36 00The starter was to be a simple but tasty Spring Vegetable Vol-eu-Vent with a Garlic and Basil Oil, we all had great fun preparing the evening meal and when we had finished we sat down to enjoy all three courses, plating each one in turn learning more culinary skills. Oh, and the usual Cheese course which I really enjoy, I have a thing for Cheese!

So that was Dinner. Spring Vegetable Vol-eu-Vent with Garlic and Basil Oil, Lobster Pastilla with Mild Spices and Honey (and you can see a sprinkling of grated bright orange coral in the picture above),  and Hazelnut Daiquoise with Apricots, oh, and some locally sourced Wine to help it down of course.

Phew, that was a marathon day. At least 6 hours in the kitchen, interspersed with the odd break for tea/coffee in the afternoon, and ‘bubbles’ in the early evening it was well worth the effort.

Jean-Marc Boyer is cooking for the French President, Macron in August, he is pretty good having held his star since 2007 and if you check out his BIO it’s very impressive indeed. We were extremely lucky to have him as our Chef Tutor, he a lovely man and personal friend this being my third time cooking with him over the last few years at Moira’s amazing French House Party.

And then comes…………………………Chocolate 🙂

 

………………………………Until Next Time……………….L8ers………….

The French House Party – A Cookery Extravaganza of International Proportions!

2017-05-19 15.21.29Domaine Le Fort is a third generation vineyard in the most western part of the Languedoc on the outskirts of the  small hamlet of Montréal, a stones throw from my base for the week at The French House Party a cookery school run by Moira Martingale.

I’ve been to the cookery school here before, it’s very good, that good that I decided a return trip was needed to learn some more culinary skills from Robert Abrahams and Jean-Marc Boyer, two brilliant chefs, and to spend time with like minded foodies from around the world.

Setting of at 5 a.m. requires some dedication but so far I have not been disappointed, meeting new friends from as far as America and Switzerland as well as England we have all settled in and starting putting the world to rights over an amazing evening meal and local wines to help things along.photo-19-05-2017-19-51-49.jpgThe Domaine Le Fort was a surprise on the 1st day, having had a light but very tasty lunch we had some time to unwind after our journey or the offer a a quick tasting, so off we went!!

I think we tend to associate wines with geographical regions, an obvious statement you would say but to find Gewurztraminer and Riesling in this part of France was extremely surprising, even more so a Malbec which is typically Argentinian.2017-05-19 14.54.19I Love Gewurztraminer, but sometimes it can be a little too sweet the and Lychee fragrance which it is renowned for, a little too overpowering. This one was was just amazing, and thats with a capital A. and the price only 6 Euro’s. If I had driven, then a couple of cases would have ended up in the boot of the car.

We tried the Riesling, brilliant, the oaked Chardonnay, brilliant, the Malbec, brilliant it was a real pleasure to be drinking ‘artisinal’ wines from a local producer of such high quality. I bought a couple of bottles to bring home, it would be rude not to.photo-19-05-2017-20-13-54.jpgArriving back at the house we donned aprons and dived into the kitchen to prepare some canapés which was to be our formal introduction to Robert, our first tutor for the next few days.  photo-19-05-2017-18-37-21.jpgThe ‘Cheese Marshmallows’ were interesting and divided the group, with some saying ok, others bland, I think they were begging for some texture, others a hot sauce or even more cheese! We also prepared a salad of Prawns, Avocado, Lemon Juice and Herbs, some Cheese Straws and a ‘Cookie’ also made with Prawns Olives and Cheese which were very tasty.photo-19-05-2017-20-38-48-1.jpgThe debate carried on into the evening with respect to the Cheese Marshmallows,  we sat down for a 4 course dinner prepared by Robert, with matching local wines. Curried Mussel Soup, Bass with Mango, Lamb and a dessert of Cherries with Brioche Pain Perdu, all very tasty, you can see some of the dishes above.

That’s it for today, it’s 12:08 (at night) so time for some sleep, we go to the market 1st thing to get some produce and barter with the locals!

 

…………………………..Until next time………………..L8ers………………….