Let me tell you about the final exam process at Le Cordon Bleu for superior cuisine...
We are given a list of ingredients with items that we must use and other's that we can add if we desire. In the space of three weeks we need to create our unique recipes. Our presentation must include two composed garnishes (side dishes) that require a mixture of ingredients like a flan or a vegetable tian and one technical garnish, like carrots turned perfectly into an olive shape and glazed. We must also cook our meat or fish to perfection and plate it with a sauce, reserving extra for the judges to taste seperately.
Normally in class we just plate a single serving, but for the final we must plate four servings exactly the same way and finish precisely at our end time – not before or after. Points will be taken away if we fail to meet this criteria. All of our cooking times are staggered so that the chefs can stand over us with their stop watches waiting to clock our final burst of adrenaline.
I love games, so this to me is fun. I practice mentally whenever I go to the supermarket... Okay now if they give me beet root and dourade, what can I make?
Perhaps I should say, I thought this game was fun until we received our ingredients. Before I break the bad news, I must admit that I'm happy there was no mention of frogs legs, escargot, or mountain oysters on the list.
Drum roll please...
In the spirit of a starving Hemmingway, we are cooking, PIGEON!!!
I think the PC term is squab, but they will always be rats with wings to me. Bloody rats with wings that come with head and feet attached and all the innards intact. Joy.
Well at least there's some petit pois on the list and oyster mushrooms. Oh, and my faaaaaavorite – foie gras mousse. Nope, it ain't the fattened duck liver that you slice ever so gently and sear quickly before serving to drooling guests. It's the other version that comes in a can. Spam would be a close cousin.
Despite my initial disappointment (the last superior class got scallops & dourade and the class before that got lamb – we get pigeon? Is LCB bankrupt or what?) my brain has been going like a slot machine on speed and has finally hit the jackpot with four cherries. I really want to share what I'm going to do, but I think it's best I keep it a secret for now, incase a spy decides to runaway with my coveted recipes.
So here's a game for you, what would you make if you had these ingredients to choose from? Remember there are three side dishes: two composed and one technical. Don't forget the sauce! All astericks are ingredients you must use. I will also include a list of items that will be in the kitchens at your disposal
Ingredients listed on the next page...
Market Basket Ingredients for Free Theme
You can only use the ingredients listed in the market basket. No other purchased ingredients can be used.
* 2 X 500g sqaubs
1 chicken fillet
* 50g foie gras mousse
150 caul fat (don't ask if you don't know! Icky!)
500g waxy type potatoes
200g oyster mushrooms
8 medium tomatoes
1/2 bunch basil & chervil
* "poivrade" or small artichokes
8 new season carrots
* 400g peas in their shells
8 green asparagus
60g black olives
At your disposal: Cooking alcohol (wine, cognac, porto, vermouth, armagnac), milk products, eggs, nuts, phyllo pastry, bread crumbs, rice (all types), lemon, any type of meat stock, herbs, onions, shallots, celery, gelatin, tomato concentrate, flour, sugar, all vinegars and oils, pork crepine
Have fun and post your answers if you're feeling inspired! Bon Courage!!!