Spinach Stuffed Cannelloni with Tomato Sauce
Cannelloni Aux Epinards et Sauce Tomates
My eating habits have been really strange and non-routine. I think it's because my class schedule is different from week to week / day to day, and wandering around the city always takes longer than expected. Thus, one eats when one has the time to. Today was no different.
Demonstration started out with our first pasta dish. Thank goodness we didn't have to make it in practical! The list of ingredients stretched all the way down the page, and this included not one, but THREE sauces! When I make lasagna with a meat sauce and a béchamel, I consider myself going all out, but to add another one is sheer madness.
But boy, did it taste good. Chef Bruno Stril made the pasta dough from scratch, stuffed it with spinach & ham, then topped it with an oven-roasted tomato sauce, pesto, & Mornay sauce (a béchamel with the addition of eggs). Another reason I'm glad we didn't make this in practical- eating one serving, let alone bringing home the whole thing, would be equivalent to a week's worth of calories.
After demonstration, everyone had a good 1.5 hours to kill until practical. Some of us went down the street to grab lunch. We went to the nearby patisserie, fully intending to purchase sandwiches. While half of us were sensible, the other half strayed far, far away from a sandwich. Case in point, my purchase:
Ah, glorious peaches, peaches that are in season right now! I couldn't pass up the chance to sample it in pastry. (Figs are also making an appearance- they are next on my list!) The shopkeeper gave me one of the ones that had the caramelized top. I was at first a little skeptical- would it taste burned? Why isn't my French good enough to request the one near the front of the display case? But I'm so glad she gave me this one- the caramelization added so much depth and flavor to the whole thing.
So this was lunch. And I didn't complain one bit.
Onto practical- making an onion tart. The easiest recipe we've come across so far, plus we had Chef Bruno as our practical chef for the first time. Here's how mine turned out:
Onion Tart with Anchovies & Olives
The dough was topped with caramelized onions, garlic, anchovies, thyme, tomatoes, & olives. Quite a Niçoise thing to make, isn't it?
I have always failed in the dough department- they either don't rise, are too sticky, are too tough, etc... But this one came out beautifully, puffed & golden brown. I think I got pretty good marks from the Chef after taking a quick peek at his grade sheet (shhh!). Hey, it's the nerd-CAL in me that wants to know how I'm doing in the class.
Chef Bruno was great in correcting my posture today. I've found that I hunch over when I'm trying to do precise cuts, & he kept reminding me to stand up straight or look like a hunchback when I'm 60. Thanks Chef!
After practical, I waded through some French bureaucracy in trying to get my year-long student visa. When I finally got home, I had just enough energy to sample my tart- nice & salty with the anchovies, & the onions were cooked just the way I like them- caramelized & with no spiciness. It was an interesting dilemma figuring out to reheat it, with no toaster oven, microwave, or working oven (I think). I finally used a frying pan and put the tart on the part not directly over the heat. It came up toasty but the top was still a little cold.
When the idea of dinner finally popped into my head around 9PM, I decided to have yau choy as a way to balance out all the richness I'd had during the day. There's nothing like steamed yau choy, topped with a tablespoon of hot oil & oyster sauce. Well, I also snuck in two small pieces of dark chocolate with hazelnuts. Yau choy & chocolate- what a combination. I bet you never saw it coming.