I certainly got one for my 3 score and 10th birthday. Dear friend Lana, suggested to a group of friends and family that they contributed to a fund, which took me, along with Lana to hometown Wellington, to partake in a Cordon Bleu (Sometimes lovingly referred to as Gordon Blue) one day course. It featured Sauces, Classic and Modern.
What a great present, mind you, I also received other wonderful gifts. All sorts of beautiful creams, pedicures, foot massage, hair treatments, vouchers, earrings, scarves. wine, Champagne.
So first we found a Nice Holiday Retreat for Dale at the St Andrews Retirement Village in Glendowie. Settled him in, packed bags and off we went.
Nothing but the best
Of course it is not in our DNA, to just go and do one thing, no,no, no, we filled in every possible moment.
First we were picked up by Tony Stevens, who kindly dropped us at the Hotel.
We checked in.
Waiting in the room, Chocolates and a card from the Hotel, wishing me a Happy birthday.
Dear Tony returned to take us back their house, where the lovely Carol was waiting with drinks, dinner and great fun.
Fresh fish, with a delicious dessert. Not together of course!
Of course some tasty liqueur to finish us off, not literally thank God, big day ahead.
What a great start.
After a tasty breakfast we headed off to Le Cordon Bleu School
First up, we made Chicken Stock, Chef Paul demonstrated.
We went back to our work stations and all the ingredients were waiting for us
New tip for me, normally I would just chuck the bones into the pot. No, not in Cordon Bleu Kitchen...first we cut off any excess fat,
then we removed any innards from the bones...then the carcasses go into a bowl of running water and remove any blood. Helps to make a nice clear stock
Skim, skim, skim as it simmers away
Next we made Beef stock,which interestingly enough, contained a couple of pigs trotters, this provides the gelatinous compound. They provided us with the bones, already roasted for extra flavour and colour.
Fellow students working away
What a great idea the sauce was very light and fluffy and very tasty, We popped a cartouche over to stop skin developing.
First up a Sauce Bordelaise which contained poached bone marrow.A very rich Red wine reduction, enriched with butter...perfect to serve with lamb or beef
Next, below, a Sage and Orange Emulsion Sauce, which was whipped up, and the froth spooned over fish.
At a later date I will make this and blog the recipe.
Duck A L'Orange. Once again the Chef demonstrated and off we went to our work stations, to cook the duck and the very delicious orange sauce.
The point of difference in this sauce. A Gastrique. First we need to julienne, blanch and macerate the zest in Cointreau, beautiful
Below: Nice little Julienne I thought,
The Gastrique: First caramelize sugar, red wine vinegar, deglaze with citrus juice.
This is added to reduced duck stock, carry on reducing, pass through a sieve, add butter and the macerated zest.
Cook the duck breast, rest and slice on the diagonal
Spoon over the divine sauce
As well as the Chefs, we had 4 helpers, who are students at the school. They were able to assist us when we were flumoxed.
The Chefs, earning their keep .
Lamb with Bordelaise Sauce and Snapper with the Sage and Orange Emulsion
Then, Creme Anglaise, Beurre Blanc finishing off with 2 couli's
One made with Fennel and Parsley
Once again, perfect for fish or chicken
Fabulous Deep Green
Chef Francis worked on a Raspberry version
What a fabulous day.
It really was so special.
Just got some final photos of people we spent the day with
Lana and her partner Chris
But of course the day wasn't finished yet. We walked back to our hotel, had a shower, a rest, then back onto Shank's Pony and in moments. we arrived at The apartment of Barbara and Terry.
They were hosting an evening for us, so we could catch up with more dear friends. Rocky and Jeannie, Gerry, Sharon and Linda.
Plenty of drinks, great pizza, wonderful conversation, what a perfect end to our day
After a good night's sleep, back down to Breakfast again. Our friend Andy Yavasis arrived and picked us up. Another Grand Tour of the Wellington Southern Bays. he is building a house in Lyall Bay.
This amazing wild and windy coast, Looking good on Sunday, but can get totally out of control Magnificent.
Great view from Andy's house.
Next on the menu, Yum Char with our friend Trishie and her work mate Bronwyn .
Couple of wines and some Yummy Chinese food, all set up for the next move
Te Papa. Wellington's Museum. As luck would have it they were holding an exhibition,
celebrating Air New Zealand's 75th Jubilee
Lana flew for Air NZ for many years, many years ago.
And there she is, young and gorgeous
Memories for Lana,
"Flight attendants, please prepare doors for landing, Thank you".
More wine, cheese
I will never forget it
As it turns out, now it is blogged. Up there in the cyberspace, forever.
Dale wasn't too lonely, he had friends
Lovely to be at home with him now though. Dale not the Pukeko!