Last week, I learned that cooking in a home kitchen is VERY different from cooking in a professional kitchen. Nonetheless, it is possible – and with some practice, could become great! I spent Wednesday through Saturday with my mom – we stayed at my aunt’s beautiful house and took daytrips. We walked around Cap d’Agde, where I am living. People have said that this place completely empties out after October, but it was still quite lively. We were especially lucky because the weather was absolutely stunning. It felt like the middle of the summer! On Wednesday, we visited an oléiculteur – an olive grower. The lady who runs the place was incredibly friendly and had us try 7 or 8 different types of olive oil. She also convinced us to buy not only oil, but also olives, tapenade, and moisturizer.
But on to the foodie aspect: My first meal consisted of an appetizer of sea bream tartar in a turnip cannoli (which sort of fell apart). The main meal was a simple sirloin steak with crushed potatoes and béchamel sauce. The next day, we visited a market in Saint Chinion where I bought a whole chicken, which later turned into an herb-roasted breast served with celeriac puree and the most amazing jus ever. This “jus” is essentially a reduction of chicken stock that turns into this rich, thick sauce. Finally, I made ravioli with a pumpkin filling and parsley-butter stuffed chicken thighs. As a little added extra, I made some religieuses. Personally, I though all of my meals were delicious and homey. But stressful – making ravioli without a rolling pin and improvising changes to recipes to adapt to the lack of ingredients. In conclusion, I’ll need to work on home-cooking and home-baking and I have to decide what tools I can live without and what tools are essential to my work.
Now back to class! I was welcomed to cuisine this week with some beautiful… frog’s legs. Why of course, there’s nothing like spending 20 minutes removing 50 grams of meat from eency-weency bones. Oh, but don’t entirely remove the bone… Delicate handiwork was also required today when we lined silicone molds with spaghetti. I can’t wait to see the result tomorrow. Next to this minimalist work, yesterday’s cuttlefish with spelt and cuttlefish mousse feels easy.
In patisserie, we are back to making cakes and I finally created one of those desserts that I have always wanted to create: an Opéra! This is a chocolate and coffee cake with a specific arrangement of layers of joconde sponge soaked in coffee syrup, coffee buttercream, chocolate ganache, and finished with a chocolate glaçage and the obligatory writing of the word “Opéra”.