Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Ballymaloe Day 6, 16th January - Pastry Paranoia

In the thick of it now, Week 2 and there is no rest for the wicked here at Ballymaloo. Second week in Kitchen 2, good news for me 'cos I knew where most things were in there which saves a bit of time but I was still struggling with the concept of serving food out on time to a hoard of hungry lunchtime diners. The food we cook for lunch we then serve as a 3 course meal to all of us in the kitchen, plus any guests and people who work at the school. Some people have duties each day such as serving, clearing away and polishing the cutlery.

Anyway, straight into Kitchen 3 and started work on my hazelnut tart. Trying to get ahead I weighed out the ingredients and made my pastry early, before our teachers had arrived. Then I was worried that I shouldn't have gone ahead and made it on my own, probably incorporating all my bad habits I have picked up over the years! No matter, there wasn't time to overthink these matters as the hazelnuts needed toasting and skinning, to do this you roast them for 10 minutes in the oven and then rub the skins off in a tea towel - good times! More good practice lining my tart tin with some actually very good pastry and then baking blind before adding the tasty chocolate, hazelnut and orange filling. We have to grate the orange zest with the fine side of a grater - I am going to try and smuggle in a microplane at this rate, that was a nightmare to do!

The goats cheese salad also had delicious dried figs from Turkey I think. Would be lovely on a cheese board, they come on a string looking all rustic and goat's cheese goes so well with figs. Then there were pomegranates to be seeded, the seeds were a lovely blood red colour and came out easily when I beat the hell out of the poor fruit with my wooden spoon. Dressing was fab too, although I was a bit slow putting it all together (becoming a common theme!)

Pomegranates are so gorgeous, one of my favourites and very appropriate as spring approaches as they feature in the Greek myth of Persephone who was tricked into eating pomegranate seeds by Hades:

So a good morning's work, followed by the afternoon's demonstration. There were lots of pulses, and some tasty mexican dishes which I love to cook and eat - tomorrow I am making the tortillas from scratch. The demonstration also featured Creme Caramel and Seville Orange Marmalade. I am starting this tomorrow!

Had a quiet night in and caught up with a bit of the outside world by watching Emmerdale, as usual it is all going on in the Dales, here is a picture of village bad boy Cain rocking his Two-Face look:

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