A couple of years back when I was in Paris, I knew that I wanted to enroll myself into a day culinary class during my trip. My last minute internet research prior to that trip brought me to La Cuisine d Marie-Blanche (as the other schools were fully-booked in advance). It was a private cooking class conducted by Madame Marie-Blanche. First question she asked me during class was “How’s your French” and I replied, “Zero”. So she very kindly conducted the class in English for my benefit. :*)
I learned how to make three things during that class: Mousse de Sardines, Saumon Beurre Blanc and Soufflé a la Vanille. All three were exceptionally delicious, and recently I made Mousse de Sardines in my own kitchen.
Madame Marie-Blanche’s classroom was a small cozy set up. The kitchen was tiny but adequate (typical European apartment’s kitchen). Barebones, really… no fancy appliances or anything. The adjoining dining alcove (lower left) looked so much like Julia Child’s kitchen. The alcove was compact and with the lighting, paintings, etc, it kinda looked a bit like a movie set, don’t you think?
So initially I thought Madame Marie-Blanche was just an old lady who happened to be friends with Julia Child back in the 70’s (as stated on her website), which was why her cooking class was more expensive than the other classes I looked up. But I later found out that she is actually some sort of royalty, as her uncle is Prince Louis de Polignac, first cousin of H.S.H. Prince Rainier III of Monaco, married to the American star, Grace Kelly, otherwise known as H.S.H. Princess Grace of Monaco. In short, this Madame is a real princess herself!!! D’oh. Hmm, thank foodness I was well-mannered in her presence and was neither pretentious nor obnoxious… :x
The Mousse de Sardines she taught me to make can definitely whet the appetite and guess what, they are surprisingly super easy to make with absolutely no cooking whatsoever! Very good as canapés for cocktail parties. It’s just so awesome that these do not require any cooking and can be served room temperature, so during a dinner party at home you can prepare these in advance, let guests can nibble on them first while you prepare the main courses in the kitchen.
Mousse de Sardines
1 can Sardines in Olive Oil
1/2 Lemon, juice
6 stems English Parsley (and/or Cilantro, if you like)
1 Tbs Black Olives, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup White Wine
1 Tbs Butter
1/2 tsp Paprika
Salt and Pepper to taste
Toss everything into a food processor or blender, blitz until the texture resembles a smooth paté. Season with salt and pepper. Spread over toasted baguette slices. (I used wholemeal multigrain bread in my photos.) Serve at room temperature with some wine.