Tag: Chateau Lynch Bages

Cooking with Jean-Luc Rocha

This summer, we had several friends staying at Château Cordeillan-Bages , a beautiful ‘relais-château‘ located in the heart of Médoc. They loved every moment of their stay, but most importantly, they adored the hotel’s restaurant, headed by chef Jean-Luc Rocha. When I told them that I had the chance to meet him and cook by his side, they couldn’t wait to see the recipes and try them out.

Jean-Luc’s predecessor for nine years was chef Thierry Marx – a household name is French gastronomy. Upon his departure, Jean-Luc managed to immediately maintain the prestige of the château’s restaurant and preserve the two Michelin stars. Jean-Luc is a real maestro at his work – his innovative modern touch reflects his passion and love for fine cuisine.

Chef Jean-Luc Rocha

For ‘Manger’, Jean-Luc will be sharing his seasonal recipes. Today he chose two desserts very close to his childhood and his heart – ‘the riz au lait‘ just like his grandmother made, with sprinkled Moroccan cinnamon (she had a talent for making beautiful forms and figures by sprinkling cinnamon). And an elegant set of ‘black and white’ ‘sablés‘ biscuits, something he enjoys making at home with his kids as well as at the restaurant.

I felt incredibly lucky getting cooking tips from such a grand chef – his creativity is boundless. Just as he finished making the riz au lait, he decided to make another ‘last-minute’ dessert – a gastronomical version of ‘riz au lait’. Take half the portion of the warm riz au lait and blend in a food processor for 3 minutes until the texture is smooth like cream. Transfer to a ‘whipping cream dispenser’ and chill for 1 hour. In ramequins, place 3 tbsp of chilled ‘riz au lait’, then squeeze an adequate amount of the ‘blended‘ riz-au lait in the shape of a spiraled meringue. Sprinkle with orange and lemon zest.

Riz au lait (serves 4)

130 g arborio rice (rinsed in cold water and drained)
10 scrapes of orange zest
10 scrapes of lemon zest
500 g double cream
600 g milk
1 vanilla pod (split open and scraped – optional)
120 g egg yolk
140 g caster sugar
Ground cinnamon for decorating (optional)

Rinse the rice in cold water and drain. Whisk the sugar and egg yolks in a bowl until light and fluffy. Set aside.
Mix the rice, orange/lemon zest, cream, vanilla and milk in a saucepan and bring to a soft boil on a low heat for 20 minutes. Off the heat, add the egg yolks and sugar mix to the rice, return to a low heat on and off stirring constantly for 3-5 minutes. Finally, add one pinch of fleur de sel/salt. Set aside and chill before serving. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon to decorate. You can create figures of your choice by sprinkling lightly using your fingertips (see photos).

Black and White Sablés

Plain dough
150 g plain flour (sifted)
100 g butter (softened at room temperature)
50 g icing/confectioner’s sugar
2 tbsp egg

In a food processor, combine and mix sifted flour, butter and icing sugar. Mix for 3 minutes, then add 2 tbsp of egg and mix for 10 seconds. Roll in a shape of a ball, wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Cocoa dough
115 g plain flour (sifted)
75 g butter (softened at room temperature)
38 g icing/confectioner’s sugar
12 g cocoa powder
2 tbsp egg

In a food processor, mix sifted flour and cocoa powder. Add the icing sugar, followed by the butter. Mix for 2 minutes. Add 2 tbsp of egg and mix 10 more seconds.

Preheat oven to 170 C.
On a slightly floured parchment paper covered surface, roll the plain dough and the cocoa dough separately to a 1 cm/half-inch thickness. Tip: You can use a 1 cm thick cubic bar to align the dough on both sides to create an even dough (sold at your local hardware store). With a sharp knife or dough cutter, cut 1 cm thick strips. Align each strips to your liking (3 strips on three rows). Roll the aligned strips in the parchment paper to secure the strips and transfer to the refrigerator or freezer for 15-20 minutes. Slice ‘sablés’ and place on baking sheet in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes (depending on thickness of ‘sablés’). Leave to cool on a wire rack and serve.

Cooking with Chef Ludovic Le Goardet

Café Lavinal’s chef Ludovic Le Goardet

In the kitchen of Café Lavinal

When you have friends over for dinner, what do you enjoy cooking for them? The words sharing, laughter, delicious, special, impressive and fun come to my mind. You want to enjoy the moment, accompanied by fine wines, good music and candlelight. The key to a successful dinner is cooking something that everybody will like, making them feel special, having bought the most sought-after ingredients from the best places possible. After all, you are showing your appreciation of their friendship through food.

That is what Ludovic Le Goardet is all about – sharing his passion for food. Ludovic is the charming chef at ‘Café Lavinal’, a gem of a bistrot located in the village of Bages, just by the gates of Pauillac. Home to the prestigious Lynch-Bages vineyards and estates, Chateau Lynch-Bages wine is a grand cru classé and a personal favourite of mine.

The village of Bages is my ideal weekly getaway in Médoc. You can’t get more excellence in one tiny square. There’s the Café Lavinal bistrot, the butcher Yves Bruneau (elected 5th best butcher in France by the Gault Millau guide), the amazing bakery and grocery store ‘Le comptoir d’Andrea’, the Bages bazaar concept store. These are the ingredients for a luxurious rustic retail therapy.

Ludovic is a bon-vivant from Fouesnant, Brittany. Growing up in a gourmet environment where his father was a baker and mother a ‘crêpière’ (pancake chef) – Ludovic was influenced at an early age to cook with love and joy, something you can really feel when you meet him. His cooking experience around France and Switzerland has given him an enthusiastic approach to food which is truly contagious. I particularly liked his story on how he had a two months vacation from his chef’s duties in Geneva, and instead of taking time off he ended up working in a trattoria in Rome. He fell in love with the food and wanted to learn the tricks of the signora’s cooking, so he offered to work in exchange for her culinary secrets. We spent an enjoyable afternoon in his kitchen at Café Lavinal, along with his sous-chef Lionel Luflade. Ludovic shared one of his favourite summer recipes – ravioles de langoustines à la sauce vierge (prawn raviolis with a virgin sauce). He said this was a typical dish he would cook for his friends on a Saturday night, something he chose because of his love for fresh langoustines from Brittany, and a virgin sauce inspired from his Roman holiday.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

2 kg langoustines/prawns (approx 36 prawns – shelled)
1 bunch basil (chopped)
1 carrot (chopped)
1 onion (chopped)
2 garlic cloves (sliced)
30 g pine nuts
30 g black olives (pitted and chopped)
250 g cherry tomatoes
A bunch of thyme
1 bay leaf
Parmesan shavings
4 handfuls of rucola salad (for serving)
Fleur de sel
Piment d’espélette (Espelette pepper)
32 chinese ravioli/wonton pasta sheets

Remove the prawns from their shells – keep 16 prawns for the filling and 16 full prawns. Keep 4 prawns shelled (without the heads), and slice them in half (they will be used as a topping – see photos).

Part I – filling
Place half of the shelled prawns, 2 egg whites, 2 pinch of salt, pinch of Espelette pepper, 30 g chopped basil and 2 g fresh grated ginger (1 tsp) in a food processor. Process for 5 minutes until you get a smooth paste. Set aside for 1 hour in the fridge.

Part II – making the raviolis
On a clean surface, prepare pasta sheets. Scoop 1 tsp of prawn stuffing on the ravioli, place one prawn on top, followed by a sliced leaf of basil. Brush the borders with water and seal with another pasta sheet. Press together, firmed around each mound to make sure you have squeezed out all the air. Set aside in refridgerator for 15 minutes.

Tip: If you don’t want to waste the prawn shells and heads, Ludovic recommends making a consommé. Boil 1 liter of water, prawn shells and heads, one chopped carrot, one quartered onion, salt and pepper for 30 minutes. Discard the shells and heads. You can use this consommé as a base for a noodle soup with vegetables.

Sous-chef Lionel Luflade

Part III – virgin sauce
Chop tomatoes in 4 quarters. Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil, fry onions for 3 minutes, add ground garlic and pine nuts and fry for 2 minutes. Take away from heat. In a bowl, mix tomatoes and onion mixture, add olives, basil, season with salt, pepper and parmesan shavings. Mix gently and set aside.

Part IV – frying
In a large pan, heat olive oil and fry chopped carrots until golden. Drain the carrots and set aside. With the remaining olive oil, fry the sliced prawns flesh down for 3 minutes, then turn on the other side and fry for 1 minutes. Sprinkle with Espelette pepper. Set aside.

Part V – cooking the raviolis
Boil 3 liters of water with a few sprigs of thyme and bay leaf. Place raviolis in batches (8 at a time) in the boiling water, making sure they don’t stick together in the water. Cook for 5 minutes.
Tip: To keep the raviolis warm while you are cooking the next batch, place them on a deep plate covered in a ladle of boiling water and cover with cling film.

To serve:
Place raviolis on a plate (4 raviolis per person), sprinkle with carrots, rucola, virgin sauce, fried langoustines on top, and drizzle with lemon, Espelette pepper, salt and pepper.