Cheese Scones

This beautiful scone is care of "Angel" - my lovely niece (sort of a "guest blogger" today); who also took the pictures.
Looks like they came out perfect.


Cheese Scones

Makes: 14 scones


  • 3 cups all purpose flour [750 mL]
  • 1/2 cup sugar [125 mL]
  • 5 tsp baking powder [25 mL]
  • 1/2 tsp salt `[2 mL]
  • 3/4 cup butter/margarine [175 mL] (I used Parkay)
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk [250 mL]
  • 1 cup grated aged cheddar cheese [250 mL]


  1. Preheat oven to 450*F [250*C].
  2. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
  3. Cut in margarine to resemble coarse oatmeal.
  4. Add milk and cheese to a slightly beaten egg and stir into dry ingredients.
  5. Place dough on a floured surface and knead lightly (about 12 times). Pat dough into desired thickness and cut with a 2 inch (5cm) cookie cutter. (I made mine smaller because I needed more)
  6. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.


  1. From the "Treats to Remember: a collection of special recipes from the University of British Columbia Bakeshop" cookbook (1995)


English-Style Boiled Potatoes : Pommes à l'Anglaise : Lesson 8 : Part 2 : LCB at Home

Not the most exciting recipe in the book (the book being...Le Cordon Bleu: At Home). The effort is in "turning" the potatoes not in the cooking of them. The turning being a particular form of peeling and forming into a sort of seven-sided barrel shape.

With fresh chopped parsley. Quite good.

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1) Shape unpeeled potatoes into barrel forms (7 sided), 2) Boil in salted water (maybe 10 minutes), 3) Sprinkle parsley. Done.


  1. Peeled potatoes can be held in/under water for quite a while
  2. Buy small round waxy potatoes (I got red ones)
  3. Cut fat oval potatoes in half vertically to make 2 "turned" potatoes out of each one
  4. The skin peeled off will have a lot of potato on it - not to worry - see next note
  5. Boil the "peelings" separately, the next day ("hold" them in a bowl of water in the 'fridge), until soft - mix/mash with about 20% by volume of butter and 10% of cream to make Creamy Potatoes (add salt & pepper). The skins give the potato "meat" some texture. Very nice.

One potato - you can sort of see the barrel shape of this one.

potato 280520081316

Trout with Almonds : Truite aux Amandes : Lesson 8 : Part 1 : LCB at Home

Simple enough: it's pan fried trout. It's best to get 6 small, equal sized ones, to serve 6 people. Or, do as I did ... 3 medium small, 1 medium and a large trout; makes it very complicated to cook them. The thing being that the store had already sold all the equal-sized small ones to people who arrived before lunch - people who know the score when it comes to buying live trout. Next time I'm (maybe) getting up at 6 A.M. to go shopping?

trucha 280520081319

Other than the complication of cooking fishes of three distinct sizes there were two little errors: late in the preparation of this dish there's butter to be melted and toasted gently with slivered almonds - my approach the first time 'round turned out to be ... scorching the butter until black; 'twas not a good idea. The second attempt, in another frying pan, got the butter melted but I forgot to sauté the almonds in it; so put them on top raw anyway. Turned out alright.

Truite aux Amandes : Trout with Almonds

Serves: 6


  • 6 trout, whole, pan sized, cleaned (remove heads if you like - I did)

  • salt
  • pepper
  • flour
  • 2 T butter, each time
  • 1 T olive oil, each time

  • 1/4 C butter
  • slivered almonds


  1. Catch, kill and clean the trout - behead it so it will fit in the pan
  2. Cook in two batches, or three if the pan is real small
  3. 2T butter and 1 of oil into the pan - medium heat
  4. salt and pepper the insides of the fish, and outside too
  5. dredge with four, shale off excess (if any)
  6. fry, on one side, 5 minutes for small, 7 for medium, 9 for large
    • until the flesh inside is certainly turned opaque
  7. Fry the other side for a similar amount of time
    • until the flesh is tender
  8. Set aside, covered with foil, in a low oven, while you do the other batch/es
  9. Dump the oil and butter
  10. Put in new oil and butter, heat and do the 2nd batch of fish (and a 3rd if you have to)
  11. Dump the last oil and butter and put a 1/4 C of new butter into the pan
  12. medium heat until bubbly
  13. add the almond slivers (I forgot to)
  14. cook until golden brown (the almonds) and nutty smelling (the butter) - not burnt;
  15. remove from heat
  16. Plate the fish - quickly
  17. Pour the butter/almonds over the fish



  1. No notes - this thing is really very straightforward.
  2. Maybe one note... since the fish go on standby in the oven you don't have to overcook them in the frying pan - - they'll "finish" in the warming oven.

trucha close 280520081322

Trout with Almonds; Onion Soup; Meringue Eggs : Lesson 8 : LCB at Home

The first thing for today's dinner was to catch some trout; at the local store with the live fish tank.

trout 270520081310

This week the menú is:

Soupe à l'Oignon Gratinée : Gratinéed Onion Soup : French Onion Soup

Truite aux Amandes : Trout with Almonds : Trout Almandine

Pommes à l'Anglaise : English-Style Boiled Potatoes : Potatoes

Oeufs à la Neige : Snow Eggs with Caramel and Crème Anglaise : Snow Eggs

As before, the menu above lists the dish in French : English : & What-I'd-Put-On-an-Unpretentious-Restaurant-Menu.

Apparently "English Style" is French for anything just "Boiled".

Writing about cooking from a book has become too mainline; The Wall Street Journal is writing about it - -
See: Latest Web Bloggers Give Cooking The Books a Whole New Meaning (which might link properly or might ask you to sign in or some such fooforall). If the link proves troublesome try to access the article through Digg.

The fish market was very very nice - quite appealing.

fishies 270520081312

Strawberry Bavarian Cream : Crème Fraisalia : Lesson 7 : Part 3 : LCB at Home

By now we know all about Crème Anglaise... which we then enhance with gelatin and whipping cream to make Bavarian Cream. Today we enhance it further, albeit with a minor change, adding strawberry purée to the crème anglaise before adding the whipping cream. Oh, some Kirsch too so that's not a bad thing at all either.

fresa tart 210520081295

Thinking about it... I've got a quick version of the recipe... mix almost set Strawberry Jello with a bucket of Cool Whip. Okay, maybe not - but it's sort of the same idea.

Crème Fraisalia : Strawberry Bavarian Cream

Serves: 8


  • 3 1/2 Cups crème anglaise
    • 2 C milk
    • 1 t vanilla extract
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 1 C sugar (that's quite a lot)
  • gelatin

  • 250 gr strawberries, puréed [1/2 #]
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 2 T kirsch

  • 1 C whipping cream


We're going over the instructions quite lightly since we've done practically the same thing a few times before (see: Bavarian Cream from last week)

  1. Make the crème anglais [vanilla custard sauce]
  2. Mix the dissolved gelatin into the warm crème anglais
  3. Let it set for a while
  4. Meanwhile...make a strawberry purèe with the lemon juice and kirsch in a food processor
  5. When the crème is almost set
    • whip some cream
  6. Add strawberry mix then whipping cream to the crème angalise
  7. Pour into a wetted mold and stick into the fridge for 3 hours or so


  1. You'll notice that the proportions of the crème anglaise are different for each recipe that uses it. I don't know why.
  2. Using a wet mold helps to ease the unmolding later (dip the mold into warm water to release the dessert)
  3. Used a 23cm [9"] cake tin as a mold.

Here's a table about Crème Anglaise (equalized to 2 cups milk [assuming we're talking about whole milk as the default]):

Sugar (cups) Yolks Milk (cups)
Larousse 2/3 5 2
La Varenne 1/4 5 2
Lesson 7 1 4 2
Lesson 6 (doubled) 1 6 2
Lesson 5 1/3 4 2
Bon Appétit March '99 2/3 6 2 (half & half)
Bon Appétit Feb '98 1/3 6 2 (half milk,
half full cream)
plus flavoring.

The bottom one, Bon Appetit 2/98, is the most cream & eggs and least sugar proportions - - I'd take that one and reduce the sugar to 1/4 Cup and it sounds like a winner. Or maybe... use whole/full cream? Or would that be too too rich?

Another Country Test

I'm checking out some geographic identification programs to see if I can detect the country of origin of the reader - - to offer some customization for each/any.

The following should show your country.

Country Code:
Country Name:
It works for me. I wonder if it works for you.

Choux Puffs with Gruyère Cheese : Profiteroles au Gruyère : Lesson 7 : Part 1 : LCB at Home

There's two parts to this dish: Choux (puff) pastry and a Mornay sauce (béchamel with cheese) to fill them. Increased the recipe to accommodate hearty appetites. Leaned towards the recipe for plain choux from La Varenne and added the gruyère to the pastry (didn't just sprinkle it on top as advised in the recipe). Made thusly we have Grougères.


It's said the choux if an "easy" pastry to get right. It's very forgiving. No need to be intimidated by the long list of steps - it's just me, rattling on as usual.

Profiteroles au Gruyère : Choux Puffs with Gruyère Cheese

Serves: 6

Equipment: Pastry bag, 1 cm plain tip [1/2"], small plain tip (for filling the little pastries)


  • Profiteroles (choux)
    • 1 C water
    • 7 T butter (almost a 1/2 C)
    • 1/2 t salt
    • 1,25 C flour
    • 5 eggs
    • 2 T gruyere cheese
    • 1 egg
    • 2 T gruyere cheese
  • Mornay sauce
    • béchamel sauce (2 Cups)
      • butter (1/4 C)
      • flour (somewhat more)
      • milk
      • salt
      • pepper
      • nutmeg (not a lot)
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 1 C gruyere cheese


First make the profiteroles and let them cool.

  1. Oven at 200C [400F]
  2. Water, butter, salt into a pan - melt the butter
  3. Boil, just barely and take off the heat
  4. Dump in all the flour at once
  5. Stir vigorously, with a wooden spoon, until it's a smooth dough and pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball (that ought to be enough criteria for success)
  6. Return to the heat and stir around to dry it for 30 seconds or maybe a minute - and remove from the heat again
  7. Let it cool some (stick you finger in it to test the coolness of the dough) - maybe 5 minutes, maybe 10
  8. Add 2 eggs and stir with that wooden spoon again - blend them in - stir vigorously
  9. add another egg and stir until blended
  10. and another egg (stir etc)
  11. Now it gets tricky. The idea is that the dough is soft enough to fall/drip from the spoon (so that you can "pipe" it with the piping bag later)
    • beat, with a fork, one egg in a separate little dish/bowl and add it a little at a time, to the dough, until it reaches the magic consistency (I used 3/4 of the 5th egg)
  12. Add 2 T of finely grated gruyere cheese to the dough
  13. Pipe onto a well greased pastry sheet in 1" balls with 1" between them (using the 1cm tip)
  14. Brush the tops with a beaten egg mixture (maybe some that was left over from the last, partial, egg for the dough
  15. Mark the tops lightly with a wet fork (helps them to puff up)
  16. Sprinkle with the other 2 T of grated gruyere
  17. Bake at 400F for 10 minutes without opening the door - they'll puff up probably
  18. Lower temp to 350F [175C] (prop the door open slightly [unless you have a convection oven going here])
  19. Bake until golden, dry tops, and crispy, and the cracks and colored inside too (the cracks are inevitable, nee, desirable, during their expansion)
  20. Cool, remove from the cookie sheets

Then, there's the Mornay sauce.

  1. Make the béchamel sauce (see, for example, Eggs with Béchamel from lesson 3)
  2. "Temper" the yolks with a bit of the béchamel (a few dollops of bech into the yolks and whisk)
  3. Then, the tempered yolks into the bèchamel and stir
  4. add a cup of grated gruyere and stir - that's the Mornay sauce
  5. Pierce the bottom of each puff with the small piping tip (preparing for adding the sauce in a minute)
  6. Pipe the Mornay sauce, while warm, into the hollow choux puffs



  1. These can be happily done with a convection oven to make sure they all cook evenly
  2. Placed too close together they'll cook irregularly - believe me, I know - happened to me
  3. Looking at the picture it's evident that mine were a little underdone; the cracks weren't coloured
  4. If they're not dry enough they will collapse upon removal from the oven (lost about 25% in my case)
  5. They'll be golden before they're crisp; give the top of one of two a tap to see whether they sound done - and solid
  6. The first try on the béchamel sauce was too runny to pipe; it just poured. The fix was to mix 1T flour (heaping) and 1 T milk together, add it to the failed béchamel and boil it all up again until it finally thickened enough.
  7. When they're cold, later, they're very tasty too and the filling has hardened up a little bit too: it wasn't runny at all.

choux 210520081282

Guinea Hen with Cabbage : Pintadeaux au Chou : Lesson 7 : Part 2 : LCB at Home

These will be posted non-sequentially; with part 1 coming later, since the pictures of the guinea hen is more to the point of the lesson today; that being - - learn from your mistakes.

This was a tough one. Of the three parts; starter, main & dessert, each of them had some sort of glitch. Starting with the guinea hen pricing out initially at 9 bucks a pound (20 bucks a kilo! for a bird!). Lucked out and found them eventually at 5 a pound which was much less painful and acquired therefore the proper fowl for the dish (otherwise we'd have been eating chicken [or maybe Cornish hens]).

Guinea 210520081290

That's quartered Guinea Hen on a bed of cabbage with Polish Sausage, bacon (lardons) and carrots. I didn't take a shot of the whole plate because, although piled high, it was not especially attractive.

The cabbage got kudos as did some parts of the fowl.

What went right &/or wrong:

  • the hen was initially undercooked (after the planned amount of time it checked out as "done" when poked but the interior joints were not finished cooking `[sort of raw looking] - I'll explain why in the notes)
  • then overcooked (in trying to recover [cook] after quartering the guinea hen I stuffed the meat pieces back in for 10 more minutes; they cooked but the legs dried out - - See the notes for thoughts on that)
  • and the cabbage was overdone in that it was extremely soft and disintegrating. Would have preferred leaves with somewhat more integrity. (But just the cabbage part of the recipe, without any bird, is doable as a standalone dish)
  • If getting two birds get them in equal sizes so they'll cook more or less the same - one was done much more than the other

This lesson needs to be repeated to get it right - - some day. From Lesson 7 in the book Le Cordon Bleu: At Home.

Pintadeaux au Chou : Guinea Hen with Cabbage

Serves: 6


  • 1 cabbage

  • 1 onion
  • butter
  • oil
  • 350 g carrots [3/4 #]

  • bouquet garnis
  • 500 ml water [2 C]

  • 350 g back bacon, cubed [3/4 #]

  • 2 Guinea Hens
  • salt
  • pepper
  • bay leaf
  • thyme sprig
  • butter
  • more salt
  • more pepper

  • 350 g Polish Sausage, whole (at first) [3/4 #]


  1. Blanch the cabbage leaves for 10 minutes then rinse with cold water
  2. Sauté the onions, in 50-50 oil and butter, until soft but not browned (as usual)
  3. add the carrots for a minute
  4. add the bouquet garnis, the cabbage and the half liter of water
    • bring to a boil then simmer for 45 minutes (don't let it go dry)
  5. Meanwhile, blanch the bacon (5 minutes) and rinse the bits
  6. then fry up the bacon bits until toasty, drain; add to cabbage when the cabbage is done
  7. But... while the cabbage is cooking ... oven to 200 C [425F] & roast the trussed guinea hens (salt, pepper, bay leaf thyme inside - - butter smeared, salt and pepper outside)
    • for 30 minutes, turning twice (for color)
  8. De-glaze the roasting pan with half a cup of water and strain the result into the cabbage
  9. Then prick the sausage, put in the bottom of the pan, cover with cabbage, place the hens on top, cover the whole thing (see notes) and do another 30 minutes
  10. Check for doneness; when so... quarter the hens, slice the sausage and serve


  1. Off the top, the problem with the guinea hen... it was supposed to be cook in a covered casserole dish at 425 F for 30 minutes but there was not a covered ovenproof dish of great enough size. They were, instead done with a foil tent over them (to prevent burning the skin).
    That was the problem with the unpredictable doneness of the birds (thigh and breast was done but deep in the joint it was near raw); the high temp is meant to create a hot, steamy atmosphere inside a closed dish. I had not a closed but an open dish therefore nothing hot and steamy was going on. I was getting straight, out and out, baking.
    It would have been better to back off to 180C [375F] and cook for 45 minutes or so. That is... slower, lower and longer.
  2. The attempted recovery of the undercooked joints was to put the undercooked parts of the meat (only) back in; but I messed up that too and put it back in with the oven still at 220C [475] and it did cook the meat but it also dried out the skinny part of the drumsticks. Better would have been to bake at a lower temp and to cover the "done" part of the drumsticks with foil.
  3. Blanching the cabbage gets rid of some classic bitterness and/or gassiness,
  4. Blanching the bacon removes any powerful "smoky" taste and a lot of fat
  5. Roasting the hens, initially, in a pan just barely big enough is best (prevents scorching of the fats, the drippings, in the bottom)
  6. Do not baste the birds with their juices (it ruins the crispy skin)
  7. Quartering: cut/chop in half vertically along the spine and breast; then remove each drumstick/thigh portion. You can also, as I did, remove the more or less meatless ribcage part (save all remnants for making stock later).

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Profiteroles (savory), Guinea Hen, Bavarian Cream : Lesson 7 : LCB at Home

This week it's:

Profiteroles au Gruyère : Choux Puffs with Gruyere Cheese

Pintadeaux au Chou : Guinea Hen with Cabbage

Crème Fraisalia : Strawberry Bavarian Cream

But the Guinea Hen will be something else because the local game bird supplier wanted CAD 61 for 2 guinea fowl. It's about 9 dollars a pound and they're fairly large ones so it's way way too much for the budget. Maybe it'll be Cornish Game Hens or a Free Range Chicken. It's got sausage and cabbage so the flavour of the meat's probably well disguised anyway.

The starter has a Mornay Sauce which appears to be a Béchamel with cheese. Making Choux pastry was interesting and, as I recall, not all too tricky. A useful technique to have in the repertoire.

Dessert is a fruit melange variant of last week's.

It's amusing the word Choux in the starter is so similar to the French word for cabbage, which is Chou and is in the main dish.

This will be Lesson 7 from the book Le Cordon Bleu: At Home.

Found two other blogs that have given the book a shot:

  • 90 Weeks - seems to have stopped at lesson 6
  • La Fin du Monde - went to lesson 34 as of November 2007 but appears to have moved on to the topic of kites

Vanilla Bavarian Cream with Raspberry Sauce : Bavarois à la Vanille, Coulis de Framboise : Lesson 6 : Part 3 : LCB at Home

And the dessert. Take last week's Crème Anglaise, add gelatin and whipping cream; top with raspberry sauce. A simple enough enhancement of what we've learned already. Next week has yet another variant on this same "Vanilla Custard" theme. It seems that Crème Anglaise is an essential part of the course.

Bavarois 140520081279

It worked pretty well; with only a few problems in the making of it - those being:

  • The crème anglaise "broke"/curdled while cooking it. Had to toss it out and start again
  • The gelatin was lumpy in spots; it dissolved fine at first but then made some clumps which ended up in the final product. Called them "flavour crystals". If you can't fix it - feature it. I learned that from my years in Information Technology.

Bavarois à la Vanille, Coulis de Framboise : Vanilla Bavarian Cream with Raspberry Sauce

Serves: 6


  • Crème Anglaise, 1 3/4 cups of it
  • Gelatin, powdered (I'd rather use sheet gelatin but couldn't find any)
  • Whipping cream, equally, 1 3/4 cups
  • Raspberry Coulis [sauce]
    • 1 1/3 C raspberries, frozen (fresh are too damn expensive)
    • 1 T lemon juice (that's equal to the juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon more or less)
    • 1/3 C icing sugar


  1. Raspberry sauce
    1. Food process the raspberries until completely smooshed
    2. Sieve out the seeds as best you can
    3. Mix in the icing sugar
    4. Add the lemon juice
    5. Not complicated, is it?
  2. Make a Crème Anglaise
  3. Then...
    1. Dissolve 1 package (1/4 tsp) gelatin in 2 Tbsp water, wait 2 minutes to soften, and add to the hot/warm vanilla custard - stir
    2. Strain it (removing lumps of gelatin and/or coagulated egg).
    3. Leave it alone until it's half set
    4. Fold in 1 3/4 cups of whipped-up whipping cream
    5. Put into a mold; chill for a couple of hours
    6. Un-mold by immersing, briefly, in hot water (to melt the whipping cream)
    7. Serve with the raspberry sauce poured over it - lovely


  1. For the berry sauce I used 4 parts berries (by volume) to 1 part sugar - some might like it sweeter and would do 3:1
  2. The lemon juice is a preservative here - prevents discoloration
  3. Remove it from the 'fridge' before serving to let it thin out somewhat
  4. I still thought it was a bit on the thick side so I added a 2 T of water to the sauce
  5. The Bavarois can also, of course, be put into individual pudding cups

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Mussels with Wine & Cream Sauce: Mouclade: Lesson 6 : Part 2 : LCB at Home

Yesterday I failed in an attempt to put all three reports/recipes into a single post. The fun continues today. Perhaps it was just not meant to be.

Second part of the menu was the main course - the Mussels. The recipe recommended 3 pounds [1,5 kilos] for 6 persons - which was considered laughable; thus, for 6 persons, 4 kilos were acquired [8,75#]. The people were, evidently, hungry.

moules 140520081273

Called "Mouclade" (moules = mussels in French; you can see the root of one word in the other), it's done with a cream-based sauce and served on the half shell.

What I did was:

Mouclade : Mussels with Wine and Cream Sauce

Serves: 6


  • Lots of mussels

  • oil, olive
  • onion, bruinoise, [chopped fine]
  • shallot, bruinoise
  • dry white wine
  • parsley, chopped (maybe dried)
  • pepper

  • crème fraiche
  • thyme, dried
  • pepper
  • parsley


  1. Clean the mussels
    • de-beard, rinse in several changes of water, toss out the broken or gaping open ones
  2. sauté onions and shallots in oil - until tender (medium low heat - be patient)
  3. add a half a cup or so of white wine - have a sip yourself (quality control)
  4. add a tablespoon of parsley
  5. add the mussels, cover (it ought to be steamy in there)
  6. toss/shake the pot every couple of minutes
  7. until they open up (maybe 5-8 minutes)
  8. That's it for the mussels - cooked
    • remove from the pot/s with a slotted spoon or something similar; leaving behind the liquid and much, but not all, of the onions/shallots mixture. Leave them uncovered, to cool
  9. Now the sauce:
    1. Leave the liquid stand in the pot for two minutes
    2. Strain the liquid, letting the onions catch and filter the sand that inevitably has collected in the bottom
    3. Let this sit for two minutes and pour into a saucepan (leaving behind, again, that last little trace of sand)
    4. Reduce by a quarter - concentrating flavor
    5. Whisk in the crème fraiche; slowly at first
    6. Reduce by a third to concentrate the flavor more and get it a bit saucy - boiling
    7. Add 1/4 teaspoon of freshly dried thyme (from your garden at the end of last season)
    8. Season with pepper
  10. Open the cooled mussels, remove one half of the shell, and lay out on a platter
    • Discard any that aren't open. No point is getting frugal, and sick, over one bad mussel.
  11. Pour the sauce over the mussels (it warms them back up) and sprinkle with more parsley, for color



  1. Do not season mussel dishes with salt; use pepper only; they're salty enough, as a rule.
  2. I did it in two pots due to the huge volume of mussels
  3. Boiling the cream in crème fraiche will not cause it to curdle - that's the surprise about crème fraiche. Normal cream often will curdle if boiled.

Okay, that takes care of the "mussels" post. Only the Bavarois left to do.

I'm not entirely satisfied with style of the headings here but that's the default in the Blogger templates. I must do something about that someday; to make these posts more attractive.

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Onion Tart: Tarte à l'Oignon : Lesson 6 : Part 1 : LCB at Home

By the way, this is the 501st post to the blog.

edited: changed the title to reflect the actual content

Here's an attempt to do the entire day in one post rather than spreading it over several days (one day per dish).

Yesterday's menú was:

Tarte à l'Oignon : Onion Tart

Mouclade : Mussels with Wine and Cream Sauce

Bavarois à la Vanille, Coulis de Framboise : Vanilla Bavarian Cream with Raspberry Sauce

Supplemented with: No Knead Bread, some soft brie-like cheese from Quebec called Brioka (occupying a position between Brie and Oka cheeses) and an additional dessert of Chocolate Cake with Strawberries. And wine - not to forget the wine.

Yikes! Total for this menu: eggs = 8 yolks & 3 whole eggs; butter = 1 pound (about 30 tablespoons); cream = 1 1/2 liters (6 cups) & 1 C milk

The Onion Tart is more or less a quiche - and absolutely completely entirely delicious. Made 2 of these to accommodate the large appetites at the table.


Quiche generally uses whole eggs and milk in the "custard" mix whereas this uses egg yolks and crème fraiche instead; a bit richer than a regular quiche, as is usual with these Cordon Bleu recipes. And quiche most often mixes the "main" ingredient with the eggs and milk - this tart doesn't.

What I did was:

Tarte de l'Oignon : Onion Tart

Serves: 6


  • 1 Pâte Brisée recipe [tart crust]
    • 1 2/3 C flour
    • 1 t salt
    • 1 t sugar
    • 7 T butter (cold)
    • 3 T ice water
  • Caramelized Onions
    • 1/2 kg onions, fine julienne [sliced fine] [1#]
    • 6 T butter
    • salt
    • pepper
  • Custard
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 1 egg
    • 1 C crème fraiche (homemade)
    • nutmeg
    • salt
    • pepper


  1. Make the tart
    1. Flour, salt, sugar into the food processor bowl - pulse to mix
    2. cold, cubed butter into the bowl - pulse pulse pulse - until a grainy, sand-like, blend - large grains
    3. add 1 T ice water and mix briefly to blend
    4. keep adding 1 T ice water at a time, mixing briefly each time, until the dough maintains its shape when you pinch it between your thumb and 2 fingers
    5. turn out onto the granite countertop (or whatever) and "knead" it briefly by pushing it away from you a bit at a time with the heel of your hand
    6. form into a flat disk and stick it in the fridge for an hour (or more)
  2. Make the caramelized onions
    1. a lot of butter into a large pan, medium low heat
    2. cook onions until soft (not colored) (could take 20 minutes)
      • coating with butter and stirring occasionally
    3. heat to low and stir occasionally for 40 minutes or so - when they will be golden colored and sweet
    4. season with salt and pepper
  3. Cook the tart shells (blind bake)
    1. Take the dough out of the fridge, split in two equal pieces and wait 10 minutes
    2. Roll out to be quite a but bigger than the quiche/tart pan-mold is around
    3. Place into the mold; no stretching of the dough, please.
    4. Prick the bottom all over with a fork, lay in a large piece of parchment paper, fill with rice (or dried beans or something like that) to keep the pastry flat
    5. 200 C [400 F] for 15 minutes
    6. Remove paper and rice (save the rice)
    7. Brush a beaten up egg over the pastry surface (bottom and sides) and back into the oven for 10 minutes to set the egg
  4. Fill the pastry shell with caramelized onions
  5. Beat together 1 egg (which I had left over from repairing a broken crust edge), 2 yolks, and a cup of crème fraiche; add nutmeg, season with salt and pepper
  6. Pour over the onions (see notes re: leaking)
  7. Bake at 185C [375F] for 15 minutes - that is, until the egg mixture is obviously set and probably puffed up a bit - perhaps nicely browned as well


  1. 22 cm [9"] tart/quiche pan
  2. Made a double recipe (two quiche pans) - - but forgot to double the tart dough; oops. Rolled it out very very thin & carefully and it, amazingly, worked out okay.
  3. I didn't follow the recipe in the book because I didn't have cake flour and because I, lazily, wanted to use the food processor to do the pâte brisée - which I know it does very very well.
  4. Always, we mean unsalted butter
  5. Crème Fraiche: 1 C heavy cream and 1 T buttermilk left to sit in a covered container on the counter for a day and a half
  6. No sugar, no balsamic, no nothing, in the onions expect butter, salt and pepper - very purist. Caramelized onions don't need sugar if done properly
  7. Will later be testing the baked rice to see if, after 15 minutes in a hot oven, it still cooks like rice
  8. The egg on the pastry is to keep it sealed from the wet ingredients
  9. If a piece of pastry edge breaks off you cut use egg as glue to sick it back on
  10. If the side or bottom has a hole/gap in it fill it with a little ball of bread and wipe it with egg - you want the bottom/sides of the pastry to be leak-proof
  11. If the pastry shell leaks anyway, put a (preferably non-stick) pan under the leak; which will seal up once the oven heat hits it - fairly quickly, albeit messily.

Yikes again! That was a fairly long dissertation about the tart; which was, by the way, utterly delicious.

Being that it took so long to write this post I'm not going to get to the other two parts of it today. Alas. Maybe tomorrow I can get both the mussels and the bavarois documented.

This was, as always, more or less Lesson 6 from the book Le Cordon Bleu: At Home - a favorite.

oiniontarta140520081267 Tags: ,,
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Mussels : Mouclade : LCB at Home : Lesson 6 : Quick Pic

A picture of the main course

moules 140520081271

Too stuffed to write about it right now.

Pretty though, isn't it?

Sponge Cake with Crème Anglaise : Biscuit de Savoie, Crème Anglaise : Lesson 5 : Part 3 : LCB at Home

Cake with a vanilla cream sauce; a decorative dusting of icing sugar and, finally, a strawberry for colour [color]. It's a simple enough sponge cake and a vanilla custard (which, unfortunately, did not thicken as much as it ought to have).

savoie 070520081257

The recipe is simple enough but has a couple of difficult bits: mainly, the crème angalise - it might not thicken and they have a tendency to curdle if it's too hot when they go back on the fire to thicken. I was overly cautious in this case.

What I did was the following:

Biscuit de Savoie, Crème Anglaise : Sponge Cake, Crème Anglaise

Serves: 8


  • Cake
    • egg yolks
    • sugar
    • vanilla extract

    • flour
    • egg whites
  • Crème Anglaise
    • egg yolks
    • sugar

    • vanilla extract
    • milk


  1. Cake
    1. Mix egg yolks, sugar and vanilla together until creamy
    2. Add flour
    3. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites
      1. Beat egg whites
      2. stir 1/3 of the whites into the flour/yolk mixture (called "tempering")
      3. fold the rest of the whites in gently
    4. Bake at 175C [350F] for 20-25-30 minutes (until done)
  2. Vanilla Custard Sauce
    1. Whip egg yolks and sugar together until creamy and form a ribbon as they drip/pour off the whisk
    2. Heat milk and vanilla 'til just boilin'
    3. Temper the egg mix with the milk mix (1/3 of milk, slowly, stirring into eggs - you don't want foam)
    4. The rest of the milk into the egg mix
    5. Back onto the heat (low) and warm it, never ever let it get to boiling, until thickened - stir, non stop, using a wooden spoon
    6. Strain the resulting custard into the serving thing (a gravy boat would work here)


  1. The cake recipe makes 2 (two) 23 cm [9"] cakes - although you only need one
  2. Dusted with icing sugar for looks. It will disappear/melt before the next day so you have to do it again.
  3. Strawberries happen to be in season at the moment; you could use anything or nothing to decorate the cake
  4. I hear that adding a pinch (just a pinch) of flour to the mix when cooking the custard prevents curdling; haven't tried that yet

savoie whole 070520081255

To be fair to the school, and to avoid criminal prosecution for theft of intellectual property, I've left out the quantities for the ingredients; which you'll find in their book Le Cordon Bleu: At Home. Or in a quick search on the web. Tags: ,

Fish and White Bean Stew : Cassoulet de Poissons : Lesson 5 : Part 2 : LCB at Home

A fish cassoulet [stew] instead of the usual meat theme one finds with cassoulets.  Has monkfish, scallops and sea bass in it.


And it has white beans and a tomato sauce - and a bread crumbs on top.

What didn't work out as planned?

  1. Monkfish was oddly difficult to locate; it's not sold everywhere like it is in Spain - and they're small.
  2. The beans almost got too cooked but I caught it in time and changed the procedure from the official recipe to compensate for the speed with which they cooked
  3. Too little tomato sauce for my taste
  4. Because the beans were too tender to mix in with the (too little) tomato sauce the stacking in the dish was done distinctly from the design in the book
  5. The bread crumb top didn't toast up at all - maybe because I forgot to dot it with butter?

Original recipe from Le Cordon Bleu: At Home -modified according to exigencies of the moment.
What was really done:

Fish and White Bean Stew : Cassoulet de Poissons

Serves: 6


  • 333 grams Great Northern Beans [0,75 #], soaked overnight
  • onion
  • cloves
  • bouquet garnis
  • 2 onions, fine bruinoise  `[tiny cubes more or less] (maybe 3)
  • 2 cloves garlic, bruinoise
  • 1/2 kg tomatoes, bruinoise [chopped] [3/4 #] (better yet, more)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • 6 large scallops
  • 1 kg monkfish fillets [2#]
  • 3/4 kg sea bass fillets [1#]
  • bread brumbs
  • butter


  1. Soak beans the night before
    • Drain, rinse, toss the water out
  2. poke a couple of cloves into an onion and put in a pot of cold water with the beans
    • water to 12 cm deeper than the beans [5"]
  3. Boil, then simmer briskly, for 60 minutes (I did 90 - that was not good)
    • skim the mess that floats to the top (prevents gassiness later it is said)
    • meanwhile - make the tomato sauce
  4. Save the water from draining the beans and to that bean-water ...
  5. Add a couple of carrots, sliced mediumishly (rounds, halves, whatever)
    • simmer for a half hour more to cook the carrots (and theoretically finish the beans) (see notes)
  6. Meanwhile - make a tomato sauce
    1. Cook onions in olive oil, slowly, until soft but not colored
    2. add garlic in the last minute of the onions being done
    3. add tomatoes, peeled, seeded - simmer for 15-20 minutes
    4. season with salt and pepper
  7. Cut the fish, individually, into 2cm [1"] pieces
  8. Fry the fish, individually, in a little oil to brown
    1. Not too done, leave slightly underdone, they're going into the oven later
  9. Assemble the cassoulet
    1. 1/2 the tomato sauce
    2. 1/2 the beans
    3. the various fishes
    4. other 1/2 of the beans
    5. the last of the tomato sauce
  10. You can hold it here for a couple of hours
  11. Sprinkle with bread crumbs, dot with butter
  12. Into the oven to heat and/or toast the top - 15 minutes at 200 C [400 F]


  1. Poisson is French for Fish, not Poison
  2. Serving dish was a 10" x 15" ovenproof dish [25 cm x 35 cm]
  3. It appears that beans these days are not as hard and dried as beans in former times (the olden days); they cook much faster than expected. The book calls for a total cooking time of 2 hours but they were more than "done" enough after 90 minutes total time; 70-80 minutes (total) would have been better.
  4. I ended up draining the beans after the initial, by the book, 90 minutes; saving the water to cook the carrots separately because the beans would have turned to mush if cooked any more
  5. A Bouquet Garnis was made up of celery leaves, bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme, wrapped in a couple of the green parts of a leek (saved from a previous week)
  6. For the carrots it's nice if their size in one direction is similar to the size of the beans
  7. Make lots of tomato sauce; can't be too much and if there's extra it keeps well.
  8. The fish, scallops and monkfish are good and then use any firm white fish (sea bass, trout, whatever).  Approximately equal volumes of each one.
  9. If they fish doesn't brown before it's cooked through that's fine too. Next time use a hotter pan and/or add butter in with the oil.

cassoulet all 070520081243 Tags: ,,

Summer Harvest Salad : Salad Messidor : Lesson 5 : Part 1 : LCB at Home

It's from the book Le Cordon Bleu: At Home - hurry and buy one for the full recipe; or try to follow my vague notes below.
Somehow I got this incredibly sharp image of the Messidor Salad, let's call it a summer salad to avoid the fancy French words ("messidor" meaning "summer harvest" in French) - - anyway, everything went right with the photography (now, if only I knew why or how). 
The dish? It's a bunch of veggies, in mayonnaise, in a big artichoke heart, sprinkled with chives.
messidor 080520081261
It wasn't faultless, not at all - but damn pretty.
1st off, way too much mayo was called for (the French traditionally use a ton of mayonnaise) so I cut it back; 2nd, it needed more salt (my fault); 3rd, more pepper; 4th, I forgot to put the chives on for the plating (but did remember for the photo-shoot later on).; 6th, needed some lemon juice squeezed on to liven it up; 7th, there was way more salad than would fit in the artichoke hearts so the plating was mostly for show and there was a bowl of the salad, for sharing, on the side; 8th, was supposed to be plated on a bed of curly endive but I forgetfully bought head-lettuce instead (well, at least it was curly); 9th, used prepared artichoke hearts instead of preparing them from scratch (since the ones in the market were very much on the too small side); and, finally, 10th, the mayonnaise "broke" while making it the first time 'round (but I was able to "recover" it with a second attempt).
Other than that... just fine.  The consensus, on the flavour aspect of the dish, is that Le Cordon Bleu is not proving to be strong on salad-making.
It's a fine salad but not a killer spectacular one.
What was really done was:

Summer Harvest Salad : Salad Messidor

Serves: 6


  • artichoke hearts
    • and a lemon for preparation
  • green beans, 25 cm long pieces [1"]
  • celery, batons (1/2 cm x 2,5 cm) [1/4" x 1"]
  • cauliflower, florets, really tiny ones
  • tomato, peeled, seeded, small bruinoise [diced evenly]
  • mayonnaise
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 1 1/2 C olive oil
    • dijon mustard
    • salt
    • white pepper
    • red wine vinegar
  • leaf lettuce (for the plating)
  • chives (decorative, mainly)


  1. start with about 4 celery sticks, a large handful of green beans (1/3 #), 2 large tomatoes, and half a small cauliflower - - you ought to end up with equal amounts of each vegetable in the salad
  2. Cook the artichoke hearts in boiling water with a quartered lemon until "done" (a knife slides into the bottom with little resistance)
    • Cool on a rack, upside down so they drain
    • Trim the bases so they stand/sit more or less flat
  3. Cook the green beans in boiling water until just getting tender
    • Drain and rinse in cold water to stop them cooking
  4. Peel the "strings" off the celery and make into batons
    • a potato peeler works
  5. Prepare the peeled and seeded tomato in little cubes - as wide as the green beans and the celery.
  6. Make the mayonnaise
    1. 2 egg yolks, 1 T dijon, salt, pepper into a jar
    2. with stick mixer and a few drops of oil, mix
    3. when it's emulsified pour more oil slowly, patiently, into the mix
    4. see Notes, below, for what went wrong for me
    5. Add a tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  7. Mix veggies and half the mayo (an hour or 2 before serving)
  8. Serve on a bed of lettuce, in the artichoke hearts, drizzle with more mayo and sprinkle with chives



  1. Much of the charm of this is in the size of the veggies all being similar; the green beans and celery equal size, the cauliflower torn to florets as small as you can get them (about the width of a ft green bean), and the tomatoes a size similar to the florets.  Likewise, cut the chives
  2. The mayonnaise "broke", that is, after going well for half the oil too much went in all at once and the oil stopped mixing properly with the egg.  It looks like a mess when that happens. 
    The fix is; switch to doing it with a hand whisk in a big metal bowl.  Break an new, whole, egg into the bowl; whisk until creamy, drizzle in 5 drops of the failed mayo; whisk until emulsified; add 10 drops of failed mayo, whisk; add 15 drops, whisk; you get the idea.
    It is tiring, all that whisking, but it works - - I recovered the failed mayonnaise in about 5 minutes (and 10 curse words) from the point of failure.

Worth another, less spectacular quality, picture?
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Fish & White Bean Stew : Cassoulet de Poissons : Lesson 5 : Part 0 : LCB at Home

Worked out pretty well. The salad needed more salt and may a bit of lemon in the mayonnaise or sprinkled.

The cassoulet could have been more toasted but was delicious anyway.

The dessert was good; way more cake than required - and the crème anglaise would have been better if thicker. But tasty anyway.

Recipes and such tomorrow.

Lesson 5 : LCB at Home : Cassoulet de Poissons : Fish & White Bean Stew

Now for lesson 5 of Le Cordon Bleu: At Home.

Might have to switch to Spanish recipes for a while - so that my system can rest from all the butter and cream.

The fish cassoulet (stew) uses Great Northern white beans - pictured here:

beans 1304340027_99190bb282_o

Thanks to mikehipp for the original of the above pic

The menu will be:

Salad Messidor : Summer Harvest Salad

Cassoulet de Poissons : Fish and White Bean Stew

Biscuit de Savoie, Crème Anglaise : Sponge Cake with Crème Anglaise

Crème Anglaise is Vanilla Custard.

The downside on this menu is that pretty much everything has to be prepared on the day of service to get it "just right". Perhaps the cake and custard could be done the day before but that's about it; even then the custard would probably develop a "skin" and the cake might not be so nice the 2nd day.

Smoked Salmon Crepes : Crêpes au Salmon Fumé : LCB at Home : Lesson 4 : Part 5

Not so easy this one - if you haven't done crepes before.  But, once that's mastered - which could take a couple of minutes - then it's a cinch.  Crepe making is worthwhile to have in the repertoire; all sorts of fancy/tasty seeming dishes can be whipped up in a flash.

No special crepe-pan is required, use a small frying pan. It works just fine.

The picture's not top notch - must have messed up the macro setting. It's the obligatory overhead shot. That's 11 crepes (there was one more but I Aited it), filled with smoked salmon, covered with crème fraiche and gratinated (gratined?) for a little color.


I did a crepes recipe back in 2006 (Crepes : French Pancakes) which was for about 4 times what's needed today (well... last Wednesday to tell the truth).  So I did it with:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C milk
  • 3/4 C flour
  • 3 T oil (or use butter) into the mixture
  • a bit of salt

then you should be fine.

For the smoked salmon part of this "recipe" get

  • 300 gr smoked salmon bits (lox) [10 oz]
  • milk enough to cover the salmon in a bowl

and soak the salmon in milk for 2 hours (removes saltiness and refines/smooths the taste.

  1. Then fill the crepes with smoked salmon (not much per crepe, just a taste)
  2. Roll/fold and place seam-side down in an oven-proof pan
  3. Cover with crème fraiche (seasoned with salt and pepper)
  4. Under the broiler for 5 minutes - until browned

Serve - Ta Da! Tags: ,,

Roast Leg of Lamb : Gigot d´Agneau : LCB at Home : Lesson 4 : Part 4

I keep saying the same thing... easy. But, really, it is!

The famed New Zealand leg of lamb; but fresh, not frozen, would be good.


What I did was...

Roast Leg of Lamb : Gigot d´Agneau

oven at 225 C [450F]

Serves: 6 (max)


  • 1,5 kilo leg of lamb , shortened (without the 'sirloin' attached) [3#]
  • garlic, slices
  • butter
  • oil
  • salt
  • pepper

  • an onion
  • a carrot
  • thyme
  • bay leaf


  1. Remove the skin from the lamb leg; rip it right off (if it has skin, some don't)
  2. Slice away the fell/silver-skin/parchment-skin from the surface of the leg; leaving the red meat showing

  3. Stab/slice/slit the leg all over with a sharp paring knife and insert garlic slices into the slits
  4. Rub with butter and oil; season with salt and pepper

  5. Into the oven for 10 minutes
  6. Turn it, then roast 10 minutes more
  7. Toss in the veggies and thyme & bay leaf; turn it, 10 minutes more
  8. Turn it; then roast for the last 10 minutes
    • After this (a total of 40 minutes) it will probably have reached 55 C [130 F] internal temperature
  9. Remove it, put on a platter, rest (at least for 15 minutes - while you do the following)

  10. Skim off excess fat, if any, from the roasting pan
  11. On top of the stove, over medium heat, add a cup of water, deglaze
  12. Simmer to reduce to a sauce
  13. Strain the remove the veggies and stuff
  14. Serve



  1. Some wrap the thing in kitchen string for a tighter shape. I didn't.
  2. The garlic slices stay in the meat when serving; little surprises for the guests
  3. Lamb is best served not well done
  4. Good cold too.


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Swiss Shard Gratin : Gratin de Blettes : LCB at Home : Lesson 4 : Part 3

I've never done anything with Swiss Chard before. There's two types: Green and Red (the color of the stem); I chose green.

This is as healthy as can be. Veggies, but with béchamel and crème fraiche to balance the goodness of the primary ingredient.


Swiss Shard Gratin : Gratin de Blettes

Serves: 8


  • 1 kilo Swiss Chard [2#]

  • 1/2 kilo mushrooms (sliced) [1#]
  • butter
  • salt
  • pepper
  • crème fraiche, a little

  • béchamel, a light one
  • crème fraiche, a little more

  • crème fraiche, yet more
  • gruyere cheese, grated


  1. Separate stems and leaves of the chard
    • Rinse the leaves; then blanch in salted boiling water - 2 minutes - drain
    • peel the stalks with a potato peeler to remove the worst of the strings (like celery)
    • Cut stalks to 5 cm lengths [2"] - cook for 10 minutes (until tender but still with some crunch) - drain

  2. Sauté the sliced mushrooms in a little butter until the water's all gone
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  3. Add a 1/4 C of crème fraiche and reduce until saucy

  4. Make a light béchamel
    • do a roux of 2 T butter and 1/4 C flour - stir it around for 2 minutes
    • add 1¾ C milk and cook until thickened (think... thick ketchup)
    • add nutmeg, pepper, salt for flavour (don't be shy about it either) - remove from the heat
    • Add a 1/2 C crème fraiche to the béchamel

  5. Squeeze the chard leaves until quite dry, chop randomly
  6. Add 1/3 of the béchamel to the chard leaves and stir
  7. In another bowl, add another 1/3 of the béchamel to the chard stalks and stir
  8. Taste both and add salt (and/or pepper) as needed (it probably will)

  9. Assemble the casserole:
    1. In an oiled gratin dish (or something oven-proof)
    2. ½ the chard leaves
    3. the mushroom mix
    4. the other ½ of the chard leaves
    5. the chard stems/stalks
    6. the last 1/3 of the béchamel
    7. the grated gruyere cheese
  10. Bake at 200 C [425 F] for 10 minutes (until bubbly and a lovely brown)



  1. You can (and I did) assemble hours ahead. If so, cover tightly with plastic wrap.
  2. Alternately, assemble up until the last step of the béchamel , cover and store away. A half hour before serving pour on the last of the béchamel, sprinkle on the cheese, then cook.

Chard 300420081222 Tags: ,
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Pineapple Sorbet : Ananas Givré : LCB at Home : Lesson 4 : Part 2

Easy as can be - and done without the requisite ice cream machine either. I'm not big on buying new electric toys to do just one dish. Years ago, in The Netherlands, I learned to make ice-cream and sorbet without one and that knowledge, today, has saved me $69.

Sorbet 050520081235

Here's what I did:

Ananas Givré : Pineapple Sorbet

Serves: 8


  • 1 pineapple
  • 2 1/2 C sugar syrup (almost equal parts water and sugar; slightly more sugar than water - I'll explain later)
  • vanilla extract
  • an egg white


  1. Put a (metal) bowl in the freezer
  2. Make a simple sugar syrup (1 1/4 C each of water and of sugar plus another 1/4 C of sugar)
    • use low heat to dissolve the sugar
    • higher heat to bring to a boil
    • boil gently for 2 minutes
    • set aside to cool
  3. hollow out the pineapple, saving the "meat"
    • freeze the shell of the pineapple for doing a fancy serving later
  4. purée the fruit-meat part very thoroughly - as smooth as you can get it; or smoother
  5. Whisk the egg white in the cold bowl - just getting it fluffy; not making egg whites
  6. Add the fruit, sugar syrup and vanilla extract and whisk it all together to mix
  7. Stuff it in the freezer
  8. Pull it out and whisk it again every 45 minutes
    • Do that about 4 or 5 times; until it's a solid self-supporting foam and the liquid's all gone (frozen)
  9. Freeze a couple of hours more (at least - longer's okay too)
  10. Scoop it into the frozen pineapple shell to serve (fancy)



  1. Some recommend poaching the pineapple fruit before puréeing it because "certain" enzymes in pineapple inhibit the freezing process needed to make a sorbet. Seems odd.
    I didn't poach anything. It froze up just fine.
  2. Some add the beaten egg white after the thing really starts to freeze up. It's supposed to make it fluffier. I didn't do that either.
  3. This mix more than fills the empty pineapple - twice over. Tags: ,,
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Roast Leg of Lamb : Gigot d´Agneau : LCB at Home : Lesson 4 : Part 1

Here's the whole set of pictures:

It started with Smoked Salmon Crepes


then Swiss Chard Gratin


and lamb


the lamb and swiss chard up close


and  Pineapple Sorbet for dessert

Sorbet 300420081230

A wonderful time was had by all.  Write ups to follow for the various dishes.