A different take at Restaurant Clairefontaine – Take 3, Luxembourg – 22 September 2012

1 year after our first cooking class at Restaurant Clairefontaine, Arnaud and William again opened their doors and there “Little box of secrets” for us.

This time around we were 7 students and the menu apart from the requested beef was a secret to all of us.

What was on the working and dining menu today was:

Amuse – Tartare of Tuna with a wasabi/soya dressing
Starter – Lobster carpaccio with redish
Main – Filet of Beef with pepper sauce and a potato mash
Dessert – Creme Brullee

So a very classic menu, – again with a lot of focus on our chances of re-producing most of it at home without too much of a fuss.

After a small briefing and a cup of coffee for those in need of that, it was cooking time,

Cutting the tuna, scallots, choriander…

voila…at the end finished of with olive oil with a touch of lemon, salt and pepper

Cherry tomatoes with a twist…

Finishing the dish…

The finished result…

The “wasabi” sauce was made of wasabi paste, soya sauce and a touch of homemade mayonaice to make it smoother in both taste and texture. A great amuse that you can make in 5-10 min.

Next up – the lobster.

A view to a kill….

Anyone up for a 69 ?

Now at this point we close the cameras and have a moment of silence. 9 lobsters were used – and killed in that process. Yes, Susanne – I shall spare you the details.

Busy hands…

Dirty work…

What followed next was the slizing of a monster redish, and explanation about how to do the lobster reduction to enhance the flavour of the dish, crushed dry rosemary as well as the crushed dried orange skin added the “genious” factor to the dish. The cleaned lobster cut into carpaccio style slices, the salad bowl on top done with a thai tempura flour.

Great little extras for an outstanding dish

Mind your fingers…

Put aside to rest for a while…

This ones for you Susanne

Making a salad “bowl”..

So three-4 steps of arranging the dish

Step 1 – arranging the sliced and boiled redish over the lobster…

Gijs adding the classic vinegar/honey/oil dressing

Adding the crunched dried Rosemary and Orange – with a touch of chives…

The salad bowl on top – inside the salad a claw of the lobster….

Now this dish might seem a bit complex for amateurs like us… with the homemade little extra seasonings, the killing of the lobster, the tempura salad bowl, the wonderful lobster reduction etc. etc. But I think that even if one cut some corners here and there -it can be reproduced at home. And it for sure was a dish to die for. Or to kill for. In this case the lobsters left the world for a good reason. Susanne, I am sure they went straight to lobster heaven. I know we did. The blanched cruncy redish mixed with the texture of the lobster and the tempura on top….Arnaud and William. I loved this dish so much.

Next up was the slowly cooked beef. After preparing the whole filet of prime Luxembourgish caddle, it was quickly sealed and put into a vacum to cook at 48 degrees in slightly over and hour. Finished off at high heat. Peppersauce was done with a pre-produced reduction, and man what a sauce it was. The mash consisting of potatoes, butter, butter, butter and chives.

Heres a few shots of that preparation

First cleaned, then strapped up, then cut into 250 gram pieces…

Sealed off and with butter, herbs and garlic into the “solarium”….

Pepper and scallots braised off, cognac added and after a small fire, the pre-produced reduction was added. Man what a sauce….

The mash…

arranged in a genorous way….

and table 1 was ready to go…

To say I love this dish would be the understatement of the year. Perfectly cooked prime beef. The worlds best sauce, and a simple mash. What more do you need ?

To finish of a classic menu, you off course need a creme brulee. I shall not bother you with all the details of that one. Just say that from the two variations we made – one with burned sugar and one where rhum was added and lit to make a more fun presentation – I prepared the classic bunselbrenner version…but the flamy one of course makes a nicer picture

Arnaud showing how to prepare my favourite dessert..

Creme

– Brulee

So – looking back at now 3 sessions and a good 11-12 dishes…which ones stands out. I am actually not sure. I know for sure that the 4 dishes we had today all ranks up there with my overall favourite classic dishes in the world. But then there was off course also those pork cheeks, that fois gras, – that cod – etc. etc. etc. too praise. But most of all, what I appreciate the most in these cooking sessions – and I think I speak for the whole group is the little things we learn. Extra salt, extra butter, the small tricks – that all improve a dish in so many ways. So Arnaud and William – we especially thank you for that. We also again thank you bot for your precious time, what a wonderful way to spend “A day in the life”.

We also thank Julien, who always amazes with his choice of wines. Today it was absolutely on top. Each wine a perfect match enhancing our FANTASTIC dishes…

Session 4 already seem to far away.

Smiling faces all around…yours truly smiling only behind the camera.

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Cooking Class for kids !

Why – I have been looking around – locally both in Luxembourg and in Germany – and I have not succeded in finding any…so I thought….why dont I make one.

Who – Kids between 5-15 with or without their parents – yes It can actually both be a kids cooking class, but also kids with parents….

When – I am flexible in regard to time. But I do imagine that Saturday mornings will be the best  2-3 Hours – plus lunch together.

Where – Place will be here in my kitchen, which is in Helmsange/Walferdange Luxembourg, close to Luxembourg centre.

How many – A maximum of 6 kids – or 4 parents and 4 kids. To make it personal and intimate

What – As to programme, anything is possible. Your average fast dinner, worlds easiest (and best) pizza, homemade pasta, bought pasta with homemade sauce, perfect meat, perfect fish, oven dishes, funny dishes, fast food, gastronomic food. Parents can order wine from my cellar if they want to sip while cooking/learning. I can give the class (run the show)  either in English, German or Scandinavian.

Price – My price will be depending on how big a group you book. But I will need at least 3 kids or 2 parents with kids to do the show.

Email me at bodf@yahoo.de if you have questions or if you think you might be interested. Dont be shy. Im not.

A different take at Restaurant Clairefontaine, Luxembourg – 5 March 2011

For a while this day had be in the planning, and Arnaud Magnier had finally agreed to take on the challenge of sharing his kitchen with 6 hobby chefs, who wanted to feel a little bit of the magic behind the curtains and maybe even learn a few tricks. To assist him on this beautiful Saturday was his second de cuisine William. Since they work hard 70-80 hours per week, it is understandable that he does not offer this service as a standard, but who knows, maybe he will consider it in the future.

Our expectations were sky high and it seemed the Day shared our feelings showing Luxembourg from its best side this beautiful morning. Walking towards the restaurant this was the squares I passed, the busy market square and the square leading me down to the restaurant.

Arnauld had had free hands putting a menu together, only request from our side was that the main dish should be fish and that we did not want to cook a dessert.

Here are some shots from the cooking of the amuse

William and Morten chopping the filet

Seasoning the Tartare, with freshly made mayonaise, scallots etc.

Mixing the tartare

Arrainging the amuse...

Beef Tartare with Caviar

Second up was the starter, Terrine du Fois Gras with Mango Chutney. The cleaning of the fois gras, the rolling, the cooking (13 min at 76 degrees in duck fat). After that it needs to rest 4-5 days in the fridge, so we had a prepared one for the dish, but here are some of the shots.

Arnaud with the raw liver, showing us the preparations

Torben preparing the rolls...

Slowly cooking, 76 degrees warm fat, 13 min for this sice....

Arranging the plates with the Mango Chutney...

Terrine of Fois Gras with Mango Chutney

Next up was one of the signature dishes of the restaurant, Arnaud’s take on risotto. He uses a Basmati rice, because he prefer the exotic perfumed taste. He uses white wine first, then adds chicken stock slowly. Towards the end, parmesan and whipped cream is added. This version included green asparagus and sol-y-laisse, dressed with creme of truffles and a parmesan bisquit

Susanne learning from the best...

William roasting the Sol-y-laisse

Dressing the plates...

Skovmand arranging and dressing...

The result, Risotto with Sol-y-Laisse and Asparagus

4,5 kilo of Cod

Milk with garlic, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves simmering away, to be used for the poaching later

The main dish was going to be Arnaud’s take on a classic – Brandade – somewhat – re-constructed.

A beautiful garlic simmered creme made up the base, on top the poached cod, topped with the “Spumante(?)” – potato/olive oil creme – as light as a cloud…..dressed with roasted pieces of bread.

Yup, we now need one of those in our kitchens...

William poaching the fish

Magic is produced...

Dressing the plates

Final touches...

and "voila" - Brandade - Arnaud's way

Happy faces all around - Job done - table's waiting.

Table one is ready.....our table, eating our food. What a day.

Conclusion:

Actually, the hours just raced away, it was so fun and cool to watch. To learn and absorbe from two true wizards – its the little things that make the difference.  Salt, butter, coorect cooking temperatures, the organization in the kitchen, the preparations.

Arnauld and William succeded in setting up a menu, which we all feel we can somehow re-produce one fine day…if not as perfect …at least we would be able to give it a go. At the table afterwards Michael had put together a wine menu which matched our dishes perfectly. Thank you for that Michael.

Arnaud and William, we cannot thank you enough for taking some of your precious spare time and use it with us. We truly enjoyed every minute and all went away with a feeling of  “wauuw – this was even beyond our high expectations”. Besides making it all look so easy, we all learned a few tricks – and rest assured – if you allow us…..we will be bacl for the second class after summer.

Now, how could I rate this day and the experience in any other way than the following ….

My rating for this visit: Food 10p (10), service 5p (5), ambience 5p (5), total score for this visit  20p (20)