Friday, March 26, 2010

filets de limande bercy

Where to start? It's all a bit mental - and I have so little time to write.

There are 44 of us in basic cuisine from over 15 countries (you can tell who's just jetted in from California or Brazil or Taiwan because they're the ones with creased faces, like old maps that have been folded and refolded a thousand times, from jet lag) and after three days we're all starting to find our own little clique. I'm in with an Australian and a Canadian - and surprisingly, I'm the only Brit.

Yesterday I was in school from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., caught the Métro home, had a quick chat with BB on Skype, then went to bed. The French have an expression: "Métro, boulot, dodo" (commute, work, sleep) and that pretty much sums up yesterday and how many of my days are going to be for the next few weeks.

We've been given a full set of Wüsthof kitchen knives (dangerously sharp) and the first practical lesson yesterday was learning different ways to cut vegetables without cutting your fingers off. So, there was mirepoix - cutting the veg into 1 cm cubes; brunoise - 2 mm cubes;  julienne - very thin strips, 1 mm thick and 5 cm long; and paysanne - 1 cm triangles. The recipe we had to create was rustic vegetable soup using the paysanne technique - which I thought was a bit ironic. I can't imagine Mini-B's Mum spending an hour cutting veg into tiny triangles for soup - or BB noticing for that matter.

Anyway, Chef said my soup was "très bien" (very good) and I was able to hold up 10 whole fingers when BB asked to see them on Skype.

Today's lesson was on stocks and how to fillet fish, so in our practical we made filets de limande bercy (lemon sole fillets in white wine sauce) using fish stock (after filleting our own fish of course). I'm afraid the recipes are LCB copyright and we're not allowed to reproduce them but this is a common French recipe which involves poaching lemon sole fillets in white wine and fish stock with some chopped shallots and then reducing the sauce and adding butter and parsley.

There are so many things to remember - what to wear in which classes, what to take to practicals and we're all battling for space in the tiny locker rooms - but I'm loving it. Most of the photos will be taken using a flash so they won't be up to the usual standard. Must dash to school now. Later.


Hils said...

Get in there!
I wanted to eat the photograph!

Anonymous said...

Marveleux!! Mish x

Jake said...

This is so exciting to read about, I am living vicariously through you.
This is something on my bucket list to do, not sure about doing it in French, though...

Jansen said...

I was always taught that, if there's one thing more dangerous than a sharp knife, it's a blunt one because, with the latter, you risk hacking murderously away whereas, with the former, you get the job done smoothly and efficiently with the minimum of collateral damage.

Put that in your pipe and fume le.

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Pierce said...

That is a great descriptive post of your experiences. Living the class through you!

Kathie said...

FYI, from "Going Underground in a Private Paris." New York Times, 26 Mar 2010.

"...At one end of the spectrum are small supper clubs like Hidden Kitchen and the even more obscure Chez Nous, Chez Vous, the offspring of a Brazilian couple who left dead-end jobs in their native country to train as chefs at Le Cordon Bleu..."