Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Ballymaloe Day 7, 17th January - Seamonsters

Good morning in the kitchen, first up I was making the butter with Tim, using cream from the farm's Jersey cows. It was simpler than one might think, you just need rich cream, a mixer, sieve and wooden spoon.You beat the cream in the Kenwood mixer and overwhip it until the butter starts to separate from the buttermilk. Then drain off the milk and rinse the butter till the water runs clear, leave the butter to drain and then sqeeze it out again. Next weigh it and add in 2% salt, finally wrap it up in a sausage shape in parchment paper. I felt like a real farmer's wife! Now I need to find a farmer... It's dead good being able to make all this stuff from scratch and having access to the farm's own cows and milk, it's extra special.

(Not me, just a sample pic so you get the idea!)

Back to the kitchen, I was rustling up tortillas from scratch, I loved rolling out the dough and it was dead easy to make. I am never reaching for the Old El Paso again! I am still dead slow in the kitchen though, took me all morning to rustle up tortillas and complete Stage 1 of the Seville Orange Marmalade. It's weird, about a year ago I was making the Three Fruit Marmalade from Darina's Complete Cookery Course book and now I am making the Seville Marmalade here at Ballymaloe.

The tortillas were filled simply but with the tastiest ingredients, mozzerella and cheddar cheeses, freshly chopped spring onion and chilli and amazing Gubbeen chorizo, made here in County Cork: http://www.gubbeen.com/cured_meats.htm. It tasted gorgeous and I could have eaten it all day.

But no, I had to leave those tasty morsels as for the afternoon's demonstration Rachel was filleting a round fish! There was much excitement as now we are getting onto the serious difficult stuff (although I think everything we do here is serious and difficult!) We were shown a variety of fresh, fresh fish provided by Brenda O'Riordan whose husband runs a day fishing boat out of Ballycotton. Because the boat comes back every day it means the fish is really fresh. It's a real privilege to have these ingredients to cook with and learn from, these seabeasts are really impressive!

Rachel filleted a massive Cod with an evil glint in his eye with ease. There were also Pollock, Whiting and Haddock on display. Then she put him in a pie with Mornay sauce topped with Duchesse Potato. Definitely one of the more complicated dishes we've had so far as there are so many elements to it. The potato was also piped using a piping bag, the first time this has made an appearance, very old school, so old school I am too young to have ever used one! It all looked great though and tasted even better.

Plenty of techniques covered today; fish, piping, mornay sauce, egg poaching, it was all going on. Rachel also made Caesar Salad, one of my favourites, and Bread and Butter Pudding, which I have never made before but am making on Thursday, fingers crossed!

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