Thursday, 26 January 2012

Ballymaloe Day 2 10th January 2012 - The Barber of Fleet Street

Forget all the first day craziness, this is what I was really worried about, day 1 in the kitchen. We were all trussed up in our crisp chef’s whites and aprons but first of all was a tour of all the kitchens, larders/weigh up areas and dining rooms, more explanation of the various rotas which I can’t get my head around, then into the kitchens to cook lunch. Well, our teachers cooked most of it, we just chopped vegetables and tried not to get in the way. We made carrot and herb soup, pasta with mushrooms, soda bread and rice pudding. It was another feast for lunch, then back for the demonstration of what to make the next day. The pace of everything here is exhausting!

Also I walk around with a cool set of engraved chef’s knives of my very own. Feel like Sweeney Todd!

We covered more soup, basic shortcrust pastry and various savoury fillings, winter fruit salad and biscuits. Also we were shown how to sharpen a knife by Tim, Darina’s husband, how to lay a table and serve and clear and also how to prepare, treat, compose and dress a green salad. The salads here are a work of art and so, so tasty! There is every leaf under the sun and all grown here at the school. Crispy cos and butterhead lettuces, then leaves like mizuna, mibuna, watercress, mustard greens, cress, turnip leaves, sweet rocket, wild rocket and herbs like sorrel, chervil, chard, kale, wild celery, the list goes on. We are to treat the herbs gently with respect, and not overdress them. I love loads of salad dressing so this may be a problem for me! In fact portion control in general is a problem for me!

I am a bit of a geek and I love all the little details for laying a table just right and stuff like that so I feel I am in my element here! Survived the kitchen but tomorrow we are on our own…We have an order of work to do too for the morning’s cooking. Normally wouldn’t be too hard much of a problem for me as I have often made a (geeky) timetable for cooking a big feast, but in a new kitchen, with new equipment and the fear that you might be doing something wrong it is a different story. I have built in plenty of time but I’m sure by 9.30 it will be forgotten!

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