During week 8 of the Superior course at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit we learned to make these main courses:

  • Class 21: Noisettes of venison with “Grand Veneur” sauce
  • Class 22: John Dory fillets with red spices
  • Class 23: Squab breast wrapped in cabbage, legs stuffed, tartlets with wild mushrooms

Class 21 at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit: Noisettes of Venison

Appetizer: Foie gras flan with fresh morel mushrooms and green asparagus Main course: Noisettes of venison with "Grand Veneur" sauce Dessert: Bananas baked in their skins with brown sugar and banana sorbet

Appetizer: Foie gras flan with fresh morel mushrooms and green asparagus
Main course: Noisettes of venison with “Grand Veneur” sauce
Dessert: Bananas baked in their skins with brown sugar and banana sorbet

By far, this was one of the best appetizers we tried this term! We were so surprised when each of us received a full portion of the mushroom flan (custard) in a martini glass, instead of our regular “tasting portion.”

Our main course of venison fillets were marinated in red wine for two days before we finished the cooking; we rolled the fillets in lots of cracked black pepper and made the rich wine sauce in class. When I brought home my leftovers for our dinner, I paired the meal with a finely aged red wine from Napa Valley, even though it was just a Wednesday night! It was our last bottle that I brought to Thailand from the States last year and it was well worth the wait.

In this Le Cordon Bleu class we learned that one of the most traditional French garnishes is poached pears. Surprisingly, these went remarkably well with the venison. I also discovered that wine-poached pears taste fabulous in wine-braised cabbage as a substitute for cooked apples.

Nothing in French cuisine is “simple,” as this dessert demonstrates: there was banana sherbet, banana crisps, a ginger-pomegranate sauce with infused hibiscus flowers and finally, the star on the plate: bananas in their skin cooked in brown sugar and butter. All in all, it was a fabulous banana dessert!

Class 22 at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit: John Dory Fillets

John Dory fillets with red spices

John Dory fillets with red spices

This week the Chef worked with fresh sea urchins in the appetizer he presented. This particular recipe showcased Japanese flavors and included a seaweed sauce; a seafood infused, savory éclair; a Béchamel sauce using fish stock; and, of course, the sea urchin roe (eggs). As a group, we weren’t sure what to make of this offering. Sorry, Chef!

For this Le Cordon Bleu class we worked with a flat fish from the Mediterranean called “John Dory” and used Indian tandoori spices as the main flavor component. The sauce was on the sweet and spicy side, as we also used a fresh-made red curry paste and added papaya and mango in the preparation. There were so many components to make, but I finished in record time. Now that we are getting close to the end of the term, my overall timing is less of an issue than it had been in the previous two terms, so that means less stress for me!

Much to the horror of most of the students, John Dory is a fish that may contain live worms inside; if that is the case, the head and some of the bones should not be used when making the sauce! Even our Chef was surprised as to the amount of worms he found; he assured us this was quite normal and not to panic.

This class we were presented with another elegant dessert:

Class 22 b

Mojito sherbet, almond milk jelly, surrounded with a kiwi Coulis (fruit sauce) and finished with an almond Tuile cookie. The Fresh berries, kiwi and local fruit (mango and papaya) have been diced fine for the best presentation.

Class 23 at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit: Squab Breast Wrapped in Cabbage

Appetizer: Lightly pan-friend scallops, tentacles parmentier and carrot butter, seaweed salad with fish roe Main course: Squab breast wrapped in cabbage, legs stuffed, tartlets with wild mushrooms

Appetizer: Lightly pan-friend scallops, tentacles parmentier and carrot butter, seaweed salad with fish roe
Main course: Squab breast wrapped in cabbage, legs stuffed, tartlets with wild mushrooms

Originally, our Le Cordon Bleu class schedule indicated we would be making pan-seared scallops as the main course. However, our Chef decided this recipe was “too easy,” so instead, he made the scallops as an appetizer and we made squab breast wrapped in cabbage for our cooking test this week.

He presented the scallops two ways: first, as shown above, and then baked inside the scallop shell with wine and garlic and wrapped in puff pastry. This second version was one of my top five recipes of the term! Sorry, no photo available as he presented this to us for tasting during our cooking session.

As for the squab: after deboning the bird, we used vacuum-bag cooking (also called sous vide) to cook the stuffed breast. Here is more info from Wikipedia. The most important lesson I learned is that when rolling an item in plastic wrap, it must be rolled tightly or it might explode in the vacuum machine. It took me several tries to get it right. No calamities, but the Chef would not let me proceed until he was satisfied that stuffed squab breast was rolled correctly.

Dessert for this class was pure chocolate heaven. Some of the students actually swooned over the ingredients in the cake batter – so much so that the chef finally gave in and passed around enough batter for us to sample. Much to everyone’s surprise, one of the students actually tried to eat half of the bowl; yes, it was that good!

Class 23 b

Mary Hathaway, owner of Dinner Diva, has been a personal chef since 2002. She cooks regularly for clients who have special dietary needs, value healthy cooking by using organic products where possible and those who want healthy family meals but have no time to cook. Whether it’s a dinner for 4, a holiday party for 20, or a set of meals for the week, all of the recipes are customized to her client’s needs or lifestyle. Go to Dinner-Diva.com for more info.