Veal Fricassee et al : Lesson 12 : LCB at Home

The dinner was:

Oeufs Mollets Florentine : Soft-Boiled Eggs with Spinach and Mornay Sauce

Better known as "Eggs Florentine".  Simple enough but we deviated from the recipe (the book: Le Cordon Bleu: At Home) because the spinach they have in France must be different than what we get here in Canada.  Here it is evidently more tender so boiling it to death, as called for in the book, would be overdoing it.  A bit of a steam in its own moisture was enough to do the base of spinach.  Note: Wring out the spinach well to avoid pooling liquid in the bottom of the dish.

The "recipe" for soft boiled eggs didn't work as expected.; they were not soft enough for a European palate - - not runny at all. The book calls for putting the eggs in cold water then back to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes; a simmer for three (3) would have been better I think.

The Mornay Sauce on top was a old favorite from Choux Puffs : Lesson 7. Then it's under the broiled briefly to color them up a little bit.   This is an excellent dish.

Florentine 250620081430 

Fricassée de Veau aux Poivrons Rogues : Fricassee of Veal with Sweet Peppers, Tomatoes, and Olives

Ah, the veal.  Again with the Veal Shoulder; apparently a versatile meat - and inexpensive too boot.

Better known as "Veal Fricassee". That's basil on top of it; a pleasant variant of the usual decorative parsley; and there's some in the dish as well .  The directions always say to make "2 inch cubes" of meat [5 cm] and I can never bring myself to make chunks that huge - - but this time I tried.  They probably came out mostly at an inch and a half [1 1/2"; 3,5cm] so I'm working my way up towards the "proper" size.  The suspicion is that the meat-chunk size affects the cooking process so it might turn out to be important.

Also made the Fond de Veau Brun : Brown Veal Stock in preparation for this dish.  The butcher had no veal bones so regular beef bones were used - which seemed to work out okay.  Went by the recipe (well, a 1/3 sized recipe) but would have been better off browning the bones at 400 F instead of 500 F (it got a bit smoky there for a while).  Another book has you put the veggies in to brown as well and that is, as I recall, how we did in class - the bones on a bed of veggies.  A longer simmering time for the stock, up to 5-6 hours, wouldn't hurt either.

Fricasee 250620081435

As for the Fricassee... the color is a bit pink hued in the meat because of the red peppers in the sauce so that gives an interesting look to the dish. It also has black and green olives (pitted) and, as I mentioned, basil in it; an unusual combination.

I chopped the onion, green pepper, tomato, and red pepper up in fine brunoise [dice] in my best "professional" fashion.  Very tiny so that they'd become nearly invisible in the sauce and therefore less easily discoverable by certain, young, very particular [picky] eaters - - seems to have worked.

And… I cooked the meat for the full length of time recommended in the recipe since I had come close to cutting the pieces to the proper size: the meat came out quite fine, than you.  I shall mention too that I did not fanatically trim all the silverskin from the meat.  I removed anything that might be gristley or unpleasant but was much less fanatic about taking off every little bit of non-red stuff - - in expectation that it would all reduce or dissolve with the new, longer, cooking time.  The plan seems to have worked.  The meat was very good, tender, and had no tough bits remaining by the time the cooking was all done.

Pâtes Fraîches : Fresh Pasta

The first time I ever made fresh pasta at home; although I'd done it in school in Paris.  Used the Kitchenaide to mix the ingredients, kneaded by hand and used a hand-crank machine to squish and cut the noodles.  It all worked quite well.  Advice: use liberal amounts of flour on the surfaces of the machine to prevent sticking when rolling and cutting; get help "catching" the pasta as it come out the bottom of the machine; dust it well with flour when drying; and, finally, string up some kitchen twine or something as a clothesline to hang the noodles on to dry - much more effective than lying it out on kitchen towels I think.  If using kitchen otwels to dry the pasta you'll need at least two (2) towels.  I started with one and it quickly filled up (do not overlap fresh noodle layers).

This pic is just the pasta tossed, as recommended, with some butter (and a bit of oil).

Homemade Pasta 250620081437

Riz à l’Impératrice : Empress Rice Pudding

Take a Bavarian Creme and add rice cooked partially in milk.  Spout, in this case, berry sauce over it (leftover from last week - no need to make the glaze specified in the book).

Rice pud 250620081440

This does not make great leftovers; the rice gets somewhat gelatinous the second day.

That's it. The whole deal in one go.

Pizza : Cafe Diplomatico : College & Clinton : Toronto

slice diplomatica 210620081424

After watching the Russia vs Netherlands football [soccer] game at a friends place the other day... someone went and got a pizza on the corner.  It's the middle of Little Italy in Toronto so it ought to be good; and it is.  A decent pizza, not made in a wood oven though - but an at least "okay" product.  And they have a lovely, large, terrace and loads of food other than pizza.  A nice place to go to; usually on the full side - which can be considered a good sign.

My home-made ones are better - but I might be biased.

Sushi Pizza


Here's an interesting product...  a Sushi Pizza.

The base, which you can't really see, is sushi rice made into a thick disk, about 3 inches across in this case; topped with salmon, onions, peppers, salmon roe, mayonnaise, and a little (fake) crab meat.

It's really quite a treat.  I'd never tasted, seen, not even heard of one before.  

Nineteen Sixty Something


Was cleaning up the ole hard drive and found this scan of a family foto.  One of them is probably me.

Eggs, Veal Fricassee, Rice Pudding : Lesson 12 : Le Cordon Bleu at Home

Wednesday's dinner will be:

Oeufs Mollets Florentine : Soft-Boiled Eggs with Spinach and Mornay Sauce

Fricassée de Veau aux Poivrons Rogues : Fricassee of Veal with Sweet Peppers, Tomatoes, and Olives

Riz à l’Impératrice : Empress Rice Pudding

Served with Pâtes Fraîches : Fresh Pasta according the book (where they slip a "serve with" suggestion into the last paragraph of the instructions for the entrée - which often is another dish someplace in the book and requires additional shopping/work/learning/effort).

Soft boiled eggs - a cinch; with normal enough done sort of spinach and a Mornay sauce we've seen before.

Fricasee is a veal stew thingy; like some recent veal dishes but the meat is browned first and then they toss in an opportunity to make Fond de Veau Brun : Brown Veal Stock from scratch - what fun. The recipe for the stock makes 12 Cups of which one (1) cup is used in the stew. Errgh. I believe that we might make only a one-third recipe of stock.

Lastly, a rice pudding that's yet another Bavarian Cream thing but with rice in it. We'll omit the candied fruit ingredients because they are generally disgusting and stick to my teeth.

Thus, there are really at least five (5) recipes in this week's adventure. It'll be great.

Sole Belle Meunière (and More) : Lesson 11 : LCB at Home

Here's the pictures and commentary.  I'll omit recipes this week becasue by now you have the book, I'm sure.

Petits Légumbres à la Greque : Marinated Vegetables with Lemon and Coriander

The essence of this vegetable "salad" was to cook and then cool all the vegs in a wine, olive oil, water, coriander and black peppercorn marinade, separately - - and then serve them separately too.  It came out very well - quite tasty. But it was too many vegetables for 6 people; I'm guessing the book's got a misprint on the amounts in this recipe.

Here's two pictures because there were so many bowls of them:
Mushrooms, artichokes, asparagus,  pearl onions

Veg 2 180620081411
Leeks, carrots, cauliflower

There were way too many veggies for the table, cut the quantity on carrots back to a half pound [1/4 kilo], use a 1/4 head of cauliflower, 1/2 kilo [3/4 pound] mushrooms.  That, and we added asparagus, which was not in the official recipe, becuase they looked so tasty in the shop.

Sole Belle Meunière : Pan-Fried Sole with Nut-Brown Butter and Mushrooms

This is delicious but my plating was a little sloppy; therefore the picture's confused too.
sole 180620081417
This would have looked great on a long, rectangular plate; with the filets slightly overlapping, the mushrooms ranged along one side of the plate and the lemons on the other... something like that.  But it's not.  What I've got instead is a round plate and...there's a simple pan-fired sole, decorative lemons on it, a lemon / butter sauce over the sole and some fried mushrooms to top all that; dropped on some lemon wedges too.

The fresh Dover sole was salted, peppered, dredged in a dusting of flour and then fired in a very hot pan in butter and oil - maybe 2 minutes a side.  Simple, delicious. We also did a couple of Basa filets (that's a sort of catfish-like fish) exactly the same way (those, of course, took a bit longer to cook 'cause they're much bigger and thicker) - - those were also delish; more highly praised than the sole as a matter of fact.

Dover Sole is quite hard to come by, fresh.  Use frozen or some other fish works just as well.

Cygnes Chantilly : Choux Pastry Swans

The other pastry swan picture was better (see: Vegetables : Sole : Pastries : Lesson 11 : Le Cordon Bleu at Home) but I don't want to repeat it.


These are filled with Chantilly cream (whipping cream).  The fun was to construct these at the table after dinner (the choux body was baked and the necks baked but we hadn't assembled the pieces into swan shapes yet).  The whole group pitched in and cut choux, trimmed wings, filled the bodies, stuck on the necks and wings.  Then ate them.

When making the necks a couple of neck shapes snapped (broke) while being freed from the pastry sheet.  These were glued back together with a dab of egg-glaze on the broken ends of each piece and stuck back in the oven for 2 minutes for the egg to "set" and adhere the two fragments together.  Saved!  Another approach would be to make about 15 neck shapes for each swan body the you have.  Allow for failures.  Also, grease the pastry sheet really really well.

That's it for last week's dinner.  Short(ish) and fast because I don't have time to do three entries for the meal;  I wouldn't get them finished before starting on the next set.  Gradually getting further and further behind.  Better, I think, to have the pictures and commentary than the recipes anyway. 

Vegetables : Sole : Pastries : Lesson 11 : Le Cordon Bleu at Home

The menú as published:

Petits Légumes à la Grecque : Marinated Vegetables with Lemon and Coriander

Sole Belle Meunière : Pan-Fried Sole with Nit-brown Butter and Mushrooms

Cygnes Chantilly : Choux Pastry Swans

swans 180620081422

The English versions of those dishes' names are much too long and descriptive. I'd prefer "Vegetables a la Grecque", "Sole Meuniere with Mushrooms" and "Pastry Swans".

There was an accompaniment of "English" Potatoes (that's "boiled") and an Onion Tart to go along with this dinner; a number of young people were guests and appetites were expected to be sizable.

Chilled Cream of Potato and Leek Soup : Crème Vichyssoise : Lesson 10 : Part 3 : LCB at Home

Neither this nor the Rice Pilaf are about to produce anything in the way of interesting pictures; alas. Between that and the fact that the soup was dug into prior to the picture being took gives me this…

leek soup 110620081382

It was very decorative before the ladle-ing.

I did this recipe at an Italian restaurant I worked at; it was pretty much the same: leeks, onions, potatoes, water, some dairy, salt, pepper - simple enough.  And lovely, served cold on a warm summer evening.

What I did was…

Crème Vichyssoise : Chilled Cream of Potato and Leek Soup

Serves: 6


  • oil
  • butter
  • 6 leeks, medium, the white part, chopped
  • 2 onions, medium, chopped
  • 3 potatoes, baking, chunks
  • 6 C chicken stock
  • salt
  • pepper, white, fresh ground
  • 1 1/2 C crème fraiche
  • chives, fresh, cut, for garnish (and flavour)


  1. Oil, with maybe a little butter, into a pot , leeks & onions in too - medium-low heat
    • Cook until soft but not colored
  2. Add stock and potatoes, simmer
    • until very soft (15 minutes, maybe)
  3. Purée with a stick blender (best) or in batches in a blender-blender
  4. "Temper" 1 C of crème fraiche with a couple of tablespoons of the purée
  5. And then the cup of crème fraiche into the pot of purée
    • Salt and pepper to taste (please, use enough salt)
    • Allow to cool and then into the fridge for a couple of hours
  6. After it's cool check the salt and pepper again - it probably will need a touch of pepper
  7. Finish, upon serving, with the rest of the crème fraiche and some chopped chives


  1. At the restaurant we didn't use crème fraiche; we used 1/2 cream and 1/2 2% milk
  2. Some cut the potato down to just one spud - and it's good with more leeks; but leeks are blindingly expensive here in Toronto thus we'll not be doing that.

There is Yet Hope for Spring

The poppies herald spring; or, what I call spring and around here they might call summer.

I have "higher" standards; 20 or 25 degrees [that's in C & equals 68-77 F) which does not cut it for summer - it's, at best, spring-like temperatures - - Spain having spoiled me in comparison to Canada.

Vivoli : Pizza : Toronto

First, the important information:  excellent pizza, worth a repeat (despite adverse circumstances [to be covered later]).

Here's a picture of their quaint little oven; is said to hold all of six (6) pizzas at a time - modest sized.

Other information: 665 College St, Toronto (@ Beatrice [downtown]) 416-536-7575 and across the street from The Standard (which I reported on recently) and in the midst of Little Italy (how very appropriate). The owner is reported to be from Naples (possibly an advantage for a pizza place [they serve other types of food too, by the way]).


Okay, the story is that it was the Italian Festival in Toronto and the city closed off a dozen blocks of one of the residential downtown main streets (College St.) for three days; no traffice, not streetcars, nothing but people. 

On the  first evening we took in the event and thought, idly, to try a wood-fired pizza.  Not having thought this one through... there were an estimated 5,000 others doing likewise.   But, as luck would have it, the line outside of Vivoli subsided for a moment while wandering past and we dashed for the entrance, where the maitre recommended the rooftop terrace as the less frantic portion of the restaurant (since the downstairs part had added an extra 160 seat sidewalk dining tent).  Got a great table adjacent to the railing up there; listening to the band performing down on the street corner, watching people stroll along the boulevard.  Ordered what turned out to be a phenomenal grilled squid and sipped a beer.  The squid was ordered to fill the time while the pizza came; having been warned that with the extra 160 seats down below it could take up to an hour to arrive (no problem, it's a lovely night and a great view)  All in all - good. No, the squid was great not just "good".

Here's a question... do you enjoy watching thunderstorms from rooftop terraces?  Ones with lightning in the distance? Ones growing ever closer until the flash/boom is but seconds apart?  Not I.  I don't like being closer to the lightning than strictly necessary.  Then, to join the lightning, the skies open to deposit a downpour on all the happy people.  The bands pack up, the streets clear, and the rooftop terrace patrons all head for the little eight seat bar where there a modicum of cover (alas, not entirely; not from the howling wind and the rain slanting in under the little plastic canopy at a 45 degree angle).

This is a restaurant with a sense of what to do in such disasters -- thus, they throw open the bar for a round on the house!  I already liked the place well enough because of the squid but a free drink or to will really put me on your side. 

Sip the wine, laugh about the rain (which, unfortunately, was washing out the street fair [really, it was torrential!]) and await the pizza... arrives (in well less than an hour).

Cuattro Stagioni:  [4 seasons]


Since the table was aflood and we had to eat the pizza with all of one elbow on the bar, standing, with the waitfolk passing glasses over our heads, the waiter decided, wisely, that another wine on the house was in order.  Nice people, all in all.

Oh, the pizza: olives, mushrooms, artichoke, prosciutto.  But, again, not in four distinct sections on the pizza but mixed up amongst one another!  Does no one do this properly? Perhaps having the ham laid over the whole pizza would be acceptable but not the other three ingredients, please.
None the less, a decent thin crust, good char underneath, something of an edge, nicely toasted but not burnt, tasty tomato sauce, not too much cheese.  The idea is that Vivoli does "Neapolitan" style pizza but the crust is not airy, bready, spongy enough to rate as "real" Neapolitan - - but I in fact usually prefer it like this over the authentic type. 

Summary, good pizza, good service even with an over 100% full restaurant and a rooftop terrace rainstorm.  I was more than pleased and will be back.

Apple Tart : Tarte aux Pommes : Lesson 10 : Part 2 : LCB at Home

The French like to do this fancy, curvy, apple-slice decoration on top of their apple pies.


It looks lovely. Nitty to put on, but lovely. And it has a classic apricot glaze to finish it off.

Tasty as can be. The dough/shell is delicious tasting but... it was a little on the tough side. Hard to penetrate with a fork; and the edge was quite browned (but not burnt). The toughness is almost certainly from overworking the dough during its preparation; they warn you about this problem. I used a machine to make the dough and evidently went a trifle too far when blending it. This is a "brisse" crust so it's a crumbly mess when it's still dough, waiting to be formed. In the machine this time it suddenly decided to form itself into a ball and that was evidently too too much for the poor pastry. It was not. by any means, horrible - - but must be better next time.

What we did was...

Tarte aux Pommes : Apple Tart

Serves: 8


  • 1 pâté brisée sucrée (sweet crusty pastry)
    • 1 1/2 C flour (minus 1 T)
    • 3 T sugar
    • 7 T butter
    • salt, pinch
    • 1 egg
    • 1 t vanilla
    • 1 T water (maybe)
  • Apple filling
    • 3 apples, Golden Delicious (get 6, just to be sure) - peeled, cored, chopped
    • 3 T butter
    • 3 T sugar
    • 1 T vanilla extract, pure, natural
  • 2 apples, Golden Delicious (yes, more apples, for the spirals) (maybe 3 apples, have an extra one ready)
  • Glaze
    • 1/2 C Apricot jam
    • 1 T water
    • 1 T kirsch


  1. Make the tart shell
    • See the procedure for the recipe of the Onion Tart: Tarte à l'Oignon : Lesson 6 but use the ingredient list above (more sugar and some vanilla flavour)
    • "Blind" bake the shell and cool it (see that other post about that too)
  2. Apple filling
    1. Sauté, without any crusty browning, the chopped apples in the butter until very very soft (covered occasionaly )
    2. add the sugar and vanilla
    3. continue cooking until rather dry and sticking together - not runny - and set aside
  3. Peel, core, halve and slice very thin the
  4. Put filling in (cool) shell, decorate with 1/2 slices in spirals
  5. Bake at 175 C [350 F] for 30 minutes (until apple slices are softer and their edges are toasting)
  6. Melt apricot jam in a tiny saucepan, whisk in water and kirsch
    • cook until syrupy
  7. Paint glaze onto the pie



  1. Take great care not to overwork the pastry. It ought to be crumbly, not formed into a ball.
  2. If the edge of the pastry crust threatens to become too dark cover the edge with strips of alu foil.

Chicken Basque Style : Poulet Sauté Basquaise : Lesson 10 : Part 1 : LCB at Home

As previously mentioned, this one's an old favorite. Also great for pot-luck suppers, keeps well, good cold, reheats alright, not pricey - all the characteristics of a regular family dish. Make it often.

basque 110620081384

The plating is, bottom-up: fried prosciutto (Italian air dried ham - should have been Iberian ham but that's hard to find). The vegetable mix (green peppers, onions, tomato), the sautéed chicken, topped with the reduced cooking liquid (essentially a tomato/green-pepper sauce).

We had a large free range chicken and cut it in 8 pieces but the breast portions were in fact oversized (not necessarily a bad thing) meaning that they took longer to cook than the other pieces.

So anyways... what I actually did was:

Poulet Sauté Basquaise : Chicken Basque Style

Serves: 6


  • 2,25 kg chicken [5 #] cut neatly in 8 pieces (8 if you keep the little wings - I did)
  • salt
  • pepper, white, freshly ground
  • olive oil
  • 1 T butter (helps the browning apparently)

  • 2 onions, medium, julienne [fine slices]
  • 6 green peppers, large, julienne (½ kg [¼ #]) (a length similar to the onions please)
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 C stock, approx
  • ¼ kg tomatoes [3 big ones] peeled, seeded, brunoise [diced] (I used a can due to the current tomato/salmonella scare)
  • 1 bouquet garnis [herb packet] (celery, thyme, parsley, bayleaf, whole peppercorns)

  • 150 gr very good ham, dry cured, slices [5 oz]


  1. If you have a whole chicken… cut it up; salt & pepper the pieces
  2. Oil into a pan, medium high; fry pieces really well - more than you usually do. You want these good and brown. Fry the larger pieces longer so they'll be pre-cooked more
  3. Meanwhile
    • Crush the garlic
    • Devein, deseed and julienne the green peppers
    • Julienne, very finely, the onions

  4. Remove browned chicken from the pan; put in the veggies & garlic, stir
    • Maybe add some oil if there doesn't seem to be enough chicken fat
  5. Cover, cook on medium-low until they're soft but not browned, stirring occasionally
  6. Add back the chicken pieces and their juices
  7. Add tomatoes, bouquet garnis and stock (to just cover)
  8. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover the pan and simmer until done/tender (about a half hour or, perhaps, 30 minutes)

  9. Remove chicken again and, separately, pretty much all the vegetables. Toss the bouquet garnis out
  10. Meanwhile, a little oil into a pan and fry the slices of ham slightly (this is not bacon we're talking about)
  11. Reduce the chicken cooking liquid until it's saucey; coating the back of a spoon

  12. Place the ham slices neatly on a plate (around the edge, maybe), arrange the vegetables inside that, top with the chicken, and pour sauce over the whole lot



  1. As always, these recipes are sourced from my copy of - Le Cordon Bleu: At Home

Vichyssoise, Basque Chicken, Apple Tart : Lesson 10 : Le Cordon Bleu at Home

It's getting easier. I've made this one before. Here's a picture from way back then.


See: Basque Chicken: Poulet Sauté Basquaise: Pollo Escuaro (Basque, Vascongado).

I've made the "starter", Vichyssoise, a few times in the Italian restaurant where I worked and the rice too. The dessert is a variation on an old favorite as well. This will be a sort of "old home week". Should be a breeze.

The menú is:

Crème Vichyssoise : Chilled Cream of Potato and Leek Soup

Poulet Sauté Basquaise : Chicken Basque Style

Riz Pilaf : Pice Pilaf

Tarte aux Pommes : Apple Tart

Bought a kosher chicken, free range, big one and very beautiful. Most of the free range chickens around here (Toronto) are more like "chicks" - they're little things.

Veal Stew with Onions and Mushrooms : Blanquette de Veau à l'Ancienne : Lesson 9 : LCB at Home

This was very good. Very.

I've done this one before; in cooking school and out - - it's always a big hit. Flavourful. Not blindingly expensive. Can be made ahead. Freezes well. Reheats well. Great for transporting to a dinner someplace. It's pretty tasty cold too.


Not the most colorful of of dishes but that's because of the "blanquette" part of the name; as with so many traditional french dishes this thing is supposed to be a variety of shades of white (trending to brown).

It was served with white sushi rice to soak up the sauce; that's essential.

I wrote about this before in "Veal Stew" and "Blanquette de Veau - 2" although I never gave a recipe or how-to. Therefore…

Blanquette de Veau à l'Ancienne : Veal Stew with Onions and Mushrooms

Serves: 8


  • 2 liters [2 quarts] water, cold
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves
  • bouquet garnis (tossed in loose, not in a "bouquet"), be generous
  • 25 peppercorns

  • 2,25 kg [5#] boneless veal shoulder (considerably less once cleaned)

  • 1/4 C butter, plus a bit
  • 1/4 C flour

  • 250 gr [8 oz] pearl onions, white
  • 450 gr [1#] button mushrooms (really small ones if you can get 'em)
  • water
  • sugar
  • butter

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 C crème fraiche


  1. Make what amounts to a vegetable broth with the water and... vegetables (and cloves and peppercorns)
    • Get it boiling then boil gently for 15 minutes - meanwhile
  2. Clean the big chunk o' veal of all tendons, connecting tissue, separating tissue, most of the silverskin, all membranes in general and the inedible bits. Cut into 3cm cubes [1 1/2"].
  3. Blanch the meat (meat into a pot, cover with water, bring to a bit of a simmer, turn it off)
    • Toss out the muck that comes to float on top of the water
    • Strain the meat; saving the liquid for possible use later

  4. Add the meat to the vegetable broth, simmer for 30 minutes
  5. Remove the meat (use, for example, a slotted spoon)
  6. Saving the cooking liquid, strain the vegetables (toss the veggies - they're done)

  7. Melt the butter in a large pan, add the flour (to make a roux) - whisking
    • Melt, bubble and dry this until it threatens to brown (2 or 3 minutes)
  8. Add the meat & vegetable broth that you just saved, slowly, whisking, into the roux; it will magically thicken up sort of
  9. Add the veal to the pot and cook, simmering, for another hour (until the veal is tender when poked with a sharp paring knife)
    • Add, if needed, liquid to just barely cover the veal pieces (use the liquid from blanching the meat - that you saved from way way earlier)
    • Season with some salt and (white) pepper

  10. Now for the vegetable garnish... Cut the mushrooms, if necessary, to be the size of the onions
  11. Each veggy into its own pan
  12. 3/4 cover with water (they ought not float)
  13. Add a tablespoon each of water and butter
  14. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 5 minutes
  15. Remove cover and boil vigorously until practically dry
  16. Then stir/toss while the pan goes dry and the vegetables glaze (the mushrooms will take a fair while)

  17. Everything can go on hold at this point; the vegetables and the meat

  18. To finish: Glazed vegetables into the meat-pot; simmer 5 minutes
  19. Check the seasoning
  20. Remove the meat and glazed vegetables (for serving)
  21. Reduce the cooked liquid to a saucy consistency
  22. Mix the egg yolk, lemon and crème fraiche
  23. Temper the mix with some of the liquid (add some of the hot sauce to the egg/cream mix)
  24. Pour the tempered mix back into the sauce - whisking
  25. Adjust seasoning (add salt, pepper)


  1. The short version will seem less complicated
    1. Clean, cube and blanch the veal
    2. Make a vegetable broth - 15 minutes
    3. Add the veal - 30 minutes; drain, reserve the meat and liquid
    4. Make a roux, add the cooking liquid, add the veal, simmer - 1 hour (until tender)
    5. Glaze some mushrooms and some pearl onions
    6. Add glazed veggies to the mix - 5 minutes
    7. Remove meat and vegetables from cooking liquid (to a serving plate)
    8. Reduce liquid
    9. Enrich with (tempered) egg yolk, lemon juice and crème fraiche

A Couple of Parts of... : Lesson 9 : LCB at Home

The starter and the dessert were not up to snuff. These two things simply didn't "work" as written. Allow me to explain.

The starter was Wilted Dandelion Salad with Bacon (Salade de Pissenlits aux Lardons). dandelion040620081346

The darn dandelions didn't wilt and it therefore ended up a rather overly crunchy salad because of the spines of the dandelions . I've since read that there are two sorts of dandelion leaves around for salad; one the green one that we normally encounter in shops and the other a yellowish, soft, variant that was probably what was called for in this dish (probably only available in France). Something has to change to make this plate acceptable.

It's a bunch of dandelions with garlic croutons; bacon (lardon), with a typical Parisian style dressing of light olive oil (that's where I deviated from their recipe - they had written vegetable oil but it was probably done to accommodate the American market/palate - we'd never had done that for real in Le Cordon Bleu ), sherry vinegar and mustard. Lastly, top it with a lightly poached egg (which turned out to be an excellent idea)

The wilted bit is where a little hot/warm reduction from degalzing the bacon-pan is poured over the salad at the last moment. Very little wilting happened (okay, none). Other than that, the dressing was fine, the croutons were tasty, the bacon a diversion and the dandelions tough. The same thing but done with romaine or spinach might have been all right.

Wasn't "bad" as such (some had seconds) but it didn't hit the spot.

The Fruit Salad with Red Berry Coulis (Ananas à la Ninon) fruit040620081351

was a quite ordinary fruit salad, each fruit (pineapple, bananas, strawberry) sliced very thin and individually marinated in a tablespoon of two of kirsch. The fruit plus a raspberry/strawberry coulis and that was it. Nothing more. The very very thin sliced fruits made for a better texture but little else was special in this case. We enhanced it with a plain white angel food cake (to use up the dozens of eggs white saved [frozen] from previous weeks; that livened it up a little bit more.

The cake "saved" this from being a very ordinary dessert.


But then angel food cake's my very favorite so I'm quite biased on the topic.


Dandelion Salad : Veal Stew : Fruit Salad : Lesson 9 : Le Cordon Bleu at Home


No... not the flower part... the leaves! Dandelions are reportedly related to chicory, Belgian Endive and so forth. And make a fine salad it would seem.
There's a classic veal stew; extremely traditional.
Finally, a fruit salad - which proved to be disappointing last time we had one - - but this one has kirsch added to it so that's promising.

The menu from the book is:

Salade de Pissenlits aux Lardons : Wilted Dandelion Salad with Bacon

Blanquette de Veau à l'Ancienne : Veal Stew with Onions and Mushrooms

Ananas à la Ninon : Fruit Salad with Red Berry Coulis

That last one is a poor translation: Ananas = Pinapple & à la Ninon" seems to mean "in the style as preferred by `Ninon´" ; whoever that might be.

Snow Eggs with Caramel and Crème Anglaise : Oeufs à la Neige : Lesson 8 : Part 4 : LCB at Home

Le Cordon Bleu at Home cooking continues. Dessert is a favorite but often tricky to execute; as this one was. It will be repeated in the (near) future to get the "snow eggs" to come out right. It also has yet more Crème Anglaise (vanilla custard); about the fifth week in a row - - and this one finally came out just exactly correctly.


These don't look too bad from this angle but the white eggy things on the middle ought to have been puffier - - they sort of fell flat in this instance. A second little problem was that the caramel was a little on the crunchy side - - would have been better if it was a wee bit softer to the tooth. And finer caramel threads would have been classy too.

But were good anyway.

What went on in this dish is the following:

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

Serves: 6


  • 2 Cups Crème Anglaise
    • 1 C cream, whole
    • 1 C milk
    • 1 t vanilla
    • 1/2 t flour

    • 4 yolks
    • 1/4 C sugar
  • Meringue
    • 4 egg whites
    • 4 T sugar
  • Caramel
    • 1/2 Cup sugar
    • 2 T water


  1. Make some Crème Anglaise (same procedure as back in "an earlier recipe") and stick in the fridge to cool and set some more
  2. Make the meringue:
    1. Beat whites until stiff
    2. Add sugar - gradually
    3. Beat again until you have them making stiff peaks
  3. Now the tricky part - the Snow Eggs
    1. take a large tablespoonful, oval, egg shaped sort of (but not egg sized) of meringue
    2. drop into simmering water - for 3 minutes (it'll puff up)
    3. turn it - 3 minutes more
    4. until cooked completely - the surface of them will change texture
    5. remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a kitchen towel (paper towels absorb rather too dramatically)
    6. Stick them in the fridge (or not)
  4. Caramel (just before serving)
    1. Melt sugar and water slowly in a pan (see also Lesson 2)
    2. Until it slightly darkens
    3. Plunge base of pan into cold water (that's important) to stop the cooking
  5. Presentation:
    1. Vanilla Custard (crème) on a shallow plate
    2. 2 egg things in/on top of the custard (or more... you'll have lots)
    3. drizzle caramel threads over the eggs & custard
    4. enjoy



  1. Putting a half teaspoon of flour into the mixture is reported to help prevent the custard from "breaking" later while thickening it. It absolutely means that you must remember to sieve the custard when its done.
  2. Cooked the custard bizarrely slowly and it did, eventually, thicken up to properly coat the back of a spoon. The last few weeks have been sort of runny custards but they were being mixed with gelatin so no one noticed.
  3. The snow eggs deflated as they hit the towel in my case. Probably from not being fully cooked enough - - that being because they were way too big to start with
  4. The caramel, if it hardens up on you in the pan before serving, can be recovered by adding a tablespoon of water and reheating/melting it.

Gratinéed Onion Soup : Soupe à l'Oignon Gratinée : Lesson 8 : Part 3 : LCB at Home

What I would call "French Onion Soup". Onion soup with toast floating on top and melting cheese on the toasts.


Thank you for not noticing that the floating toast is somewhat more than "toasted" on the edge (okay... charred). I'll delve into a couple of little problems related to that in the notes.

You will however notice that the soup broth is white-ish. That is, cloudy. It seems that there's two versions of this soup, one with a clear and one with a not-clear, onion broth. This one is a not-clear broth.

Although the idea of this cooking exercise is to do the recipes just as they are in the book this particular one was cross-bred with the recipe in La Varenne: Pratiqueto give a slightly different result - - but still traditional.

Soupe à l'Oignon Gratinée : Gratinéed Onion Soup

Serves: 6


  • 6 T butter
  • 1 kilo onions, julienne, fine [2#, sliced finely]
  • flour
  • 1 C wine, dry white
  • 1 C stock, (guinea hen stock, very special) [or chicken stock]
  • 5 C water
  • a boquet garnis (thyme, celery, bay leaf, tied in leek greens)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 baguette
  • gruyere cheese, grated


  1. Slowly cook the onions in the butter, until soft, golden brown - practically caramelized. This could take 45 minutes
  2. Add a couple of tablespoons of flour and stir it through the onions; cook it for 3 or four minutes
  3. Slowly add the wine, whisking/stirring the whole while - get it to boiling - it'll thicken a little
  4. Then the stock (we had a wonderful, aromatic, stock of guinea hen and fennel flavors) - whisk this in likewise
  5. Then the water, stirring that in too
  6. Then add the boquet garnis & salt and pepper to taste (enough salt will bring out the sweetness of the onions - - too little will not achieve that)
  7. Bring to a boil
    • You can put everything on hold at this point and stash the pot in the 'fridge for a couple of hours; or a day
  8. Cover and simmer for half an hour - just before serving (remove the boquet garnis of course)
  9. toast baguette slices (make the bread yourself too - - hey, why not?)
  10. sprinkle the toasts generously, and completely, with cheese
  11. and stick under the broiler to brown them
  12. float a couple on each bowl of soup



  1. You can make this the day before and do the final boiling at the last moment
  2. Cover the entire toasted baguette with cheese to prevent burning of the exposed edges of the bread
  3. Ideally the whole pot of soup is broiled in the oven with soup, toast, cheese and all. This requires oven resistant soup bowls. Which we don't have. Thus, the floating bread on the soup. it works okay too; a very nice presentation.

The Standard

Went for my first wood-fired-oven pizza in Toronto yesterday; at The Standard, 667 College St @ Beatrice; in downtown Toronto.

Flashy looking oven; all sparkly, shiny, little tiles surrounding it.Standard Oven 010620081339

Pretty good pizza. A  thin crust,  a light touch with the toppings, okay char on the bottom, with a fairly light/bubbled and small edge on the crust.  The crust was a bit soft, maybe underdone, in the middle - - - perhaps the oven was too hot- - and a bit overdone on the edge .

They messed up the composition of  the "four seasons" pizza by mingling the four ingredients together; each ingredient ought to have its own quadrant (it was artichokes, ham, sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms). The tomato sauce lacks something as well (maybe it was just missing some salt?).  And where's the oregano sprinkled on top?

The place has a nice atmosphere, good service, decent prices. Worth going to. I'd give them another chance.

The pizza: pizza Standard010620081332

The crust:Standard Slice 010620081336

If nothing else, it's attractive.  And yes, it was tasty too; but there's room for improvement.