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Musicians on the Menu


Musicians on the Menu:   
Swan Lake and swan-song to the series

Read the as-printed article and editorial here.

IWFS members can read it in their journals.  Hereford students who participated can read it via the link.  It is part of our appreciation and encouragement for the future.

Structure of the page and navigation

The text from the IWFS journal is repeated with links to supporting material. Some of it is general and other links take you to explanations of the dishes. As IWFS members and regular readers of this website know, the series is based on the Le Répertoire de la Cuisine 

The article has been published in Food & Wine in December 2012.  IWFS members receive the journal quarterly and have access to it on the Society website.  After three months, the latest journal becomes available there to non-members.  You can see the journal here.  The December issue is thus available to non-members in March 2013.  Until then, this page is not shown in the side panel except when arriving at the page from elsewhere.
Previous articles in the series.



The published pages look like this, except brown text, some of the accompanying pictures and everything after the group picture.                                                                 

                                    Musicians on the Menu:

                                               Swan Lake and swan-song to the series

                                               by Prof Alan F Harrison                                                                                              

                                         Tchaikovsky                                                                                                  Cygne Tchaikovsky

         As the series began with Verdi, this is where we came in.  In “Garnishes on the Stage” in December 2009 p 16, he was first on the menu. Verdi was followed by Rossini, Meyerbeer, and Smetana, Sullivan ended that story and began the subsequent one in March 2010. Updating 2009, our first musician again is even more remembered on the menu with Tournedo Verdi. The beef fillet is dressed on foie gras, covered with Soubise (onion puree) and served with Duchesse potatoes (December 2010 p 23) filled with small balls of carrot and accompanied with braised lettuce. Filets de sole Verdi are cooked on a bed of diced macaroni, lobster and truffle. They are served with Sauce Mornay. (Mandarins, June 2011, p 23).


more pictures

Rossini needs his own article beyond the Tournedo Rossini (again with foie gras) referred to in December 2009, p 16 here. Boiling fowl are also adorned with the pâte and truffles before being hermetically cooked in the oven. Salade Rossini comprises lettuce, celery, chicory leaf and root, cress, and escarole endive. If the humble sole were the theme, it has the most garnishes devoted to it.   In Filets de sole Rossini, they are rolled and covered with a sole farce augmented with foie gras before poaching. Presented in a circle, its centre is filled with a truffle ragoût. White wine sauce goes over the fillets. Oeuf Rossini is a fried egg on a bed of foie gras and sliced truffle. Sauce Périgueux accompanies and it is made from demiglace or rich brown sauce with truffle essence and chopped truffles. Omelette Rossini is quite similar regarding the ingredients. The Purée Rossini soup is chicken based and, again, is similar.                                               

               Tournedo Rossini source

     My first Food & Wine article was about “the three Ms” in June 2009 p 12 and covered three variations of the term “molecular” applied to the broad concept of cuisine. In the present context, the three Ms are Mozart, Manon and Meyerbeer. Faisan Mozart is pheasant en casserole finished with cognac and served with French fried potato and artichoke-bottoms filled with celery purée.  Paupiette de sole Manon is when the fillets are rolled and poached. A round dish has been decorated with piped Duchesse potato mix and browned under the grill. The paupiettes are placed within the circle and covered with white wine sauce flavoured with fines herbes (the collective for chopped parsley, chives, tarragon and chervil)The centre of the circle is filled with asparagus tips and truffle strips (julienne). Oeuf sur le plat Meyerbeer is where the egg is in the dish previously buttered and seasoned, After baking, it is garnished with lamb-liver and served with Sauce Périgueux which is a savoury truffle-flavoured brown sauce finished with chopped truffle.                                                                                                       


Sole Manon (left) commemorates
Manon Lescaut
   Brown text indicates new material.

      You will note in Moscovites on the Menu   that Tchaikovsky has not been remembered on the menu within the Répertoire de la Cuisine. He sits on the same music shelf as Verdi and Rossini, at least. He composed a whole ballet revolving around dancing candy and a prince enchanted so as to crack nuts between his wooden teeth. Let us remember him more gastronomically with Cygnes Tchaikovsky. Find someone who can make and pipe meringue or choux pastry.  Create necks, wings and bodies. Cut the tops from the bodies and fill them with raspberries.  Make a “red-crested” swan as in the picture above, or use poached fruit flavoured with a Russian liqueur. 

You are not limited to the standard approach of using vodka which loses its flavour in food. Try Slavyanskaya  for example.  

If you indulge in irony as well as needing vodka, try this one as it is quite unusual.  




Make wings from the body-tops cut in half. Attach the necks and float your swans on a
lake of jelly surrounded by dessicated coconut coloured green for the grass.



Moving on to the practical aspects of producing Cygnes Tchaikovsky, Herefordshire College of Technology (HCT) offers full time courses in Hospitality and Catering.   In making contact, the aim was to involve future chefs in the article and provide readers with further ideas as to how the swans can be made and filled. Les Brown is one of HCT's course lecturers and he invited me to observe a Level 2 in Professional Cookery practical class at the end of September . 

Here he is with Fern James-Bristow and Kelly Tipton. The swan bodies have just come out of the oven. 

The Level 2 learners had recently returned to college in September after working in the industry during the summer vacation. They approached the task with enthusiastic competence and self-confidence. There were twelve learners working in pairs.  We see what they are aiming to produce.  Here is the target swan.

An early stage is piping the necks before baking them.  more  The heads are then dipped in melted chocolate. 


The bodies are sliced in half and the top split to give two wings. more  The lower half is filled with raspberries in coulis and whipped cream. 

Emma Bevan and Nicole Kinsey show us how. They have produced “target” swans. 

The “red-crested” swan which introduced the article is an example of the way students at HCT are encouraged to give their own interpretation of what they are shown.          


The swan was made by Billy Baker and Peter Deakin who are shown dipping swan heads in dark chocolate

Lorna Cooke preferred white chocolate.


 Ivan Mole and Ben Dean are literally “dotting the eyes” with white icing on their dark-chocolate swan heads.              

 Fern shows that concentration is needed.              

Ivan and Ben demonstrate a further interpretation of the swan.  They have used a chocolate run-out.  Melted white chocolate was spread onto greaseproof paper.  When set, dark chocolate was piped over it.      

Kieran Bennett and Jake Morgan
are putting the flavour into the swan bodies.     


Some of the ballerinas are waiting in the wings ....              

and more on the other side of the stage.  Cygne Tchaikovsky is again centre stage!             



 My thanks go the learners, their Course Lecturer Les Brown and Amy Howard from the College Marketing Team who took the photos. The visit to HCT concluded with lunch in the Cider Orchard training restaurant which is highly recommended. Lunch is available during term time Tuesday to Friday and dinner on Wednesdays. To make a reservation, call 01452 365331


A swan lake ballet and its choreographers who bring our history of garnishes to a memorable close.


See the foot of another page. Not even Cameron Korma



View all pictures.  Many have been edited. 

If you want to try making the choux mix, there's a recipe here.


  The work shown from this  point (until the Hereford menu is reached) was done by me using meringue.  The quality of the pictures and other aspects of the work pointed to the need for others to be involved.  I'm pleased to have found Hereford College of Technology! 

Pic 2
 Pic 3
 Pic 4    Wings for a large swan.  Rocks and mushroom tops did not work but do work using choux mix. 

             Top them with chocolate.  

             Bodies are not
shown but pipe longer "blobs" tapering them as you pipe.
 Pic 5  Use a cone of greaseproof paper to hold the meringue.  

          Cut off the tip to give the correct diameter or bore.  Use ready-made cake 
          bottom non-stick paper or silicone paper if you can get it  

         The "mushroom stalks" would have been used with the tops in Pic 4,     

          but they did not work.  Better to use choux which makes eclairs.


Pic 6   The dish was floated with pineapple jelly.  It is difficult to find the right colour. 

            Blue looks as if it is sea.  Green is also not right.
          The island is a meringue "dollop" flattened to the right size.  
          Grass is dessicated coconut coloured green and stuck in place with
          boiled jam on the end of a pastry brush.  T

          The stones of chopped nuts should be in place before the jelly sets. 
 Pic 7  Unused swan but not looking sorry for itself.
Pic 8      The top swan has a broken neck. 

Meringue is more difficult to work with than choux paste (ie for eclairs). 

In both cases, there is a swa
n "profile" consideration.  Consider the flat surface of the

swan's neck compared with the more normal profile in Pic 6. 

Return to 
Pic   1.  Did you notice that it is a flat-profile swan and wonder how it felt about it.?
The rear cygnet has frightened the other one which left cream on the jelly.  Start again. 

 Tchaikovsky in
Dr. Seuss knew this; that’s why he conceived the Grinch’s nefarious plan to steal Christmas
as involving the theft of Whoville’s canned goods, roast beast, etc. Charles Dickens knew this;
that’s why he directed his reformed Ebenezer Scrooge to have a big turkey delivered to his 
impoverished employee’s home. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky knew this; that’s why he composed
a whole ballet revolving around dancing candy and a prince enchanted to crack nuts between
his wooden teeth. 
source  nutcracker


Tournedo Simon

There are two aspects of the notion.  What is a tournedo?  How would the Simon dimension appear on the plate?

Tournedo is a steak cut from beef fillet.  The Garnishes on the Stage article first mentioned Tournedo Rossini in the fifth paragraph here and he helps in this musical swan-song to the series. 

If IWFS members came forward with ideas as to its founder's food likes, it won't take long to create Tournedo Simon by consensus.  Some of this will accompany it.  

return to text


The menu is shown here.  

     Plenty to choose from and "ballet" suits our purpose best.


A gaggle, ballet, bank, bevy, flock, game, regatta or team. And if they are in flight, a wedge.

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Collective_noun_for_swans#ixzz28XUOGPQX     




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