A fabulous day at Palate Sensations with Francois Mermiliod

 A few weeks ago, we had a wonderful weekend. Attending a cooking class at Palate Sensation with Francois Mermiliod of Absinthe delving into his expertise with French cooking. Thirty of us gathered in the welcoming kitchen, bright and early, swapping tales of our current forays into the mysterious world of bouquet brunoise and the art of making delicate chocolate mouse. Palate Sensation granted the day as a lovely surprise. So, as the day go, we started off with bottles of Botteca Prosecco to warm up and tinkle our palettes. Then there was more, whites and red. After a few glasses, losing counts, everyone is in a perfect state of bliss. The sound of whizzing kitchen mixer echoed with giggles and constant burst of laughters. Alas! our vol au vent turned out lob-sided! But fear not, everything will taste fabulous at the end of the day because we have Francois and his experience staff to save us.

The whole day was a pleasure. Francois is very inspiring, and I for one have taken some very useful lessons from his teaching. All the staff, the facilities, the general ambience of the centre just inspires one to dream to go away and create more. Thank you, once again, to Francois and all the team at the Palate Sensation. The Vol au vent of seafood with lobster sauce is a hit at the Christmas dinner table.

Vol au vent of seafood with lobster sauce

Vol au vent Pastry
200g puff pastry
1 egg yolk

Roll the dough and cut 2 rings of 7cm diameter
In one ring, cut a 5cm diameter ring
Stick the outside ring on the first 7cm ring using egg wash and bake in the oven (190 degrees) for 10 mins (til golden brown

Lobster Sauce
300g Lobster shell
½ carrot
½ leek
½ onion
3 garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoon brandy
3 tablespoon white wine
½ liter water
200 mL cream

Crush and fry the shell in a pot for 10 mins
Add the vegetable brunoise and cook for another 5 mins
Add the tomato paste then flame with brandy
Add the white wine, then the water and reduce for 40 mins
Strain, add the cream and reduce until thick
Add roux
Season to taste

8 de-shelled prawn
4 scallops
1 piece of calamari or fish fillet
2 chopped shallot
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Saute the seafood in a frying pan with olive oil
Add the garlic and shallot
Add lobster sauce and reduce
Garnish the vol au vent and add the chopped parsley

Roulade of Turkey with apple and Foie Gras
250 turkey breast
100g parma ham
100g Foie Gras
50g croutons
1 green apple cut in dice
1 diced shallot
4 button mushroom cut in quarters
chopped parsley
2 tablespoon white wine
1 tablespoon veal jus
1 tablespoon cream
salt and pepper to taste

Quickly sautéed the mushroom with the apple and the shallot in butter.
Pan fried the foie gras
Cool down and mix with foie gras and croutons and pasley, season with salt and pepper
Cut thin slices of turkey, put the filling in it. Wrap in the ham and then in cling wrap
Poach in simmering water for 8 mins
Allow to rest 5 mins before removing the cling wrap, keep the juice
Sear the meat in a frying pan
take it out and deglaze with the white wine, reduce
Add veal jus and reduce and add cream and reduce to obtain a smooth, semi-thick consistency, coating the back of a spoon.

Chocolate Log Cake
Biscuit joconde
200g whole eggs
120g almond powder
120g icing sugar
200g egg white
40g sugar
60g flour
50g butter

Beat the whole eggs, the almond and icing together in a mixer till creamy
Whisk the egg white with the sugar to meringue
Mix them together and add the clarified butter and the flour
Put on a tray 1cm high and bake for 15-20mins

Chocolate Mousse
315g chocolate
55g butter
90g egg yolk
375g whipped cream
150g egg white
75g sugar

Melt chocolate
add butter and egg yolk
Whisk egg white and sugar in a mixer
Whip the cream
Mix all together gently
Allow to set in fridge for an hour

To make log
Spread some chocolate mousse on the joconde and roll
Put some more mousse on top and decorate
Serve with creme anglaise or custard

(Recipes from Palate Sensation)
-till next post, ss.

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