We get some handy cooking tips from Cyrille Troesch
Time Out Bahrain staff
Where are you from? I was born in Strasbourg in the north-east of France, but grew up near Marseilles in Provence… two places that are known for their very good food.
What brought you to Bahrain? I was working at the Manoir aux Quatre Saisons near Oxford in England with Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc when I was contacted by the Capital Club, and I thought it would be a fantastic challenge to help launch an upmarket club in the Middle East.
What do you enjoy about working at the Capital Club – apart from the best views in town? It’s good to be cooking for private members with a very good knowledge of food from around the globe and to tailor-make menus for them.
Describe your signature style and a dish that defines it. My style is to respect the natural flavour of the key ingredients and to make them the stars on the plate. One of my favourite dishes is seared safi fillets with caramelised onion compote, ratte potatoes and sauce Grenobloise – the contrast between the sweetness of the onions and the lemons’ acidity is very good.
And your favourite ingredients? Foie gras, which was also favoured by the Egyptian pharaohs, and chocolate because there are so many different types from so many places that it allows you to travel without flying. I recommend a combination of foie gras, chocolate and an appropriate beverage as a very good cure for the blues.
What is the best meal you’ve had that you didn’t cook yourself? It was a 21-course degustation menu on my 30th birthday at Alain Ducasse’s Hotel de Paris, Restaurant Louis XV in Monaco.
What are key considerations when planning a dinner party, and what would be your perfect menu? First of all, it’s good to know your guests’ likes and dislikes, so find out what they are, then create a menu to suit them, also taking into consideration that ladies generally like salads and fish, and men want meat and carbohydrates. For my friends, I’d start with a good terrine of foie gras, but if not available I might go for a chicken liver salad with smoked beef bacon and garlic croutons. Then we’d have a local fish off the bone in a creamy white wine sauce with vegetable tagliatelle, followed by a grilled Angus or Wagyu beef steak with a simple béarnaise sauce. And dessert would be something chocolatey. In true French tradition, this would require three hours minimum around the table, no rush.
What recipe have you decided to share and why? Chocolate and mint soufflé, because nobody can resist it.
Dark chocolate and mint soufflé with hot chocolate sauce and mint granite
Serves 4 Ingredients For the soufflé: 40g unsalted butter 30g dark (70 per cent cocoa solids) chocolate, finely grated 20g cocoa powder 2 egg yolks 5 egg whites 75g caster sugar 3 sprigs mint Icing sugar to dust
For the mint pastry cream (makes 100g): 2 eggs 2 egg yolks 30g cornflour 100g sugar 500ml milk 60g fresh mint
For the chocolate sauce: 100ml boiling milk 60g dark chocolate
For the mint granite (optional): 500ml boiling water 50g fresh mint 150g sugar 100ml mint syrup
Method • Prepare the pastry cream beforehand – mix together the eggs, cornflour and sugar, then boil the milk and add the mint. Cook till a thick consistency, pass through a colander and reserve in the fridge.
• To make the granita, mix and freeze all the ingredients; when hard blend in a food processor till smooth and reserve in the freezer.
• For the soufflé itself, melt the butter, and, using a pastry brush, brush the inside of four soufflé moulds or ramekins (4cm deep x 8cm across).
• Sprinkle the grated chocolate over the butter to coat the insides, tapping out any excess. Place in a refrigerator.
• Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
• Put the pastry cream in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the cocoa powder.
•Add the egg yolks and whisk them into the mixture until smooth.
• Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until they start to firm.
• Sprinkle in the caster sugar, a little at a time, until a smooth meringue is achieved; don’t over-whisk, as they will become granular and the soufflé will not rise properly.
• Very gently fold the egg white into the chocolate mixture.
• Roll the mint leaves into a ball and chop very finely, then add to the soufflé mixture.
• Remove the soufflé moulds from the refrigerator and fill them to the top, leaving the edges clean or the soufflés with catch as they are rising and cook unevenly – use your index finger and thumb to wipe around the edge of the moulds.
• Place on a baking sheet and cook for seven minutes. They should double in size and feel firm to the touch.
• Remove from the oven and dust with icing sugar. Serve immediately with hot chocolate sauce and mint granita. The Capital Club is a private members’ club situated on the 52nd floor of the Bahrain Financial Harbour. For membership enquiries, call Sonali Thadani on 17 100 100.