FRIDAY 29 OCTOBER 2010 • FILMING KITCHEN SECRETS - IN LONDON & PARIS
Indonesian food with Sri Owens, and the finest Patisserie in Paris with Laurent Duchene
I came from Oxford to Wimbledon, to learn more about spices and meet someone who is considered as one of the great authorities on the subject. As part of Raymond Blanc Kitchen Secrets Series 2, I became the apprentice under Sri Owens. I considered it an honour to cook with her. She is one of the best cookery writers on Indonesian cuisine and has been a cookery teacher for the past 40 years. She lives in Wimbledon – usually known as the home of tennis!
The dish that Sri cooked is called Bebek Betutu, which translates as “the whole duck”: a whole duck is boned, spiced and stuffed with duck breasts. It was divine. We ground our whole spiced mix, which reads as a tour of Indonesia... cumin, cloves, cumin, coriander seeds, chillies (lots of them!), candle nuts, nutmeg, turmeric, kaffir lime leaves, shrimp paste, tamarind, water shallots and - guess what - 6 good cloves of French garlic !
Grind everything in your liquidiser adding a liitle water .
Whoa!! Cover the opened boned duck with the spices, add the raw breasts within and roll as a huge saucisson of duck.
5 hours cooking (1 hours at 160ºC and 4 hours at 120ºC )
Sri had also prepared some other typical dishes for us:
A magnificent Beef Rendang - slow cooked beef in a roasted coconut curry ... and it tasted so much better than that!
Steamed vegetables in a coconut dressing
And to finish a salad with an almondine dressing.
Well, I thought we had finished until the cakes came in, all of these accompanied with a rather nice Cahors wine made and brought in by Eric, the boss of Books for Cooks
Altogether a remarkable and special moment. Thank you Sri.
And then on to Paris…
Speeding through darkness towards the city of light – Paris. We did not have any dinner! We absolutely did not need to: Sri is such a wonderful cook and the perfect host. We simply sat and ate all the food that she put in front of us. Thanks to the Lord ...
I was going to Paris with our wonderful BBC team to cook with one of the best French Patissiers: his name is Laurent Duchene. I was looking forward so much to meeting him again, seeing his patisserie and of course tasting his creations.
While in Paris, we (the BBC team and I) took the opportunity to have a poor’s man lunch, which was soon to be followed by brioches and the finest cakes in Paris.
What a lovely day. Blue skies, a few grumpy Frenchmen in the streets contesting the new law about the 62 year old retirement age!! But not enough to spoil our day.
We walked by the Pont des Arts and saw the famous padlocks: all the world’s lovers lock their padlocks to the bridge rail and then they throw the key in the river – it is for EVER !!!!
Laurent Duchene is my friend and is a great Patissier. He worked with me for two years from 1989 until 1991. Laurent has been awarded the highest award that any craftsman can receive: Meilleur Ouvrier de France (best French Patissier). He has created two beautiful pastry and chocolate shops in the heart of Paris: Patisserie Laurent Duchene and Patisserie Kyoko.
We talked and reminisced; we had a good laugh when he reminded me of the extraordinary deserts I used to create (I did one, he had to do the thousand!). Among many others: the Three Petit Desserts (three little jewels: one cold, the second warm and the last one hot!). The last dessert reached the guests at about 1am! And Laurent had to get up by 6am, which was not so funny!
But such were those days; we were only four patissiers. Now we are 12. Le Manoir s reputation had to be build, and we also had to make money to invest, to create what you see and experience today.
Today was about celebrating Laurent and his lovely wife Kyoko who is a chocolatière. Being Japanese, she influences the creativity of her husband. We cooked and we tasted lots of wonderful patisseries and chocolates. It was a perfect day .
Then with the crew we raced back through the French landscape to my other home.
2 rue Wurtz
238 Rue de la Convention
0033 1 45 33 85 09
For more information on the Raymond Blanc Cookery School, click here to visit Le Manoir's website
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