Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Ballymaloe Day 15th, January 27th - Lovin' the Langoustines

So, buoyed by yesterday's meringue and surviving a whole week in the demo kitchen I was in good spirits for the final day's cooking of the week. The langoustines and shrimps had already been cooked for us in huge pots of salted water, but our teacher was cooking some more shrimps for lunch. They were springing about in a bowl beside my section, unaware of their fate (or maybe they were?!) It's weird having live things in the kitchen; a few tried to make a 'run' for it, sort of like the lobsters in Annie Hall!

'ello 'ello
My cooked langoustines needed mayonnaise to serve with them, Rachel had made this the previous day and I had made it before so I was pretty confident about it. Then, just as I had the egg yolks, vingar, salt and mustard in the bowl, a whisk in one hand and the jug of oil poised in the other, Darina came into the kitchen to go through it again with us and show us the best way to whisk by hand. Since I had everything ready she demonstrated with mine. It was a bit surreal; I have made the mayonnaise from Darina's Complete Cookery Course book many times and then here she is showing us how to make it in person!

I finished mine off though and it was pretty good (in my opinion). Then, gripped with piping bag fervour following yesterday's meringue, I piped mayonnaise with a finer nozzle onto the plates to go with my langoustines. The proportion of shellfish, bread, sauce and salad is all important, I also remembered to garnish everything with a bit of fennel. I also made a tasty apple pie served with softly whipped cream in a little dish on the side - most desserts here should be served with cream. I forgot to take a picture of the pie, which was a shame as it looked and tasted great and the pastry was good too. I spied Myrtle Allen taking a slice at lunchtime...but I was too shy to ask her her opinion!

Love this plate

Piping action


After a gorgeous lunch of sweet tasting shellfish and pie it was onto the final demonstration of the week. There were two soups, French peasant soup and winter vegetable and bean, Traditional Roast Chicken, Pheasant and Guinea Fowl, Game Chips using potatoes and parsnips, various sauces and stuffing for the chicken, swede turnips which I would call a swede and what they call a neep in Scotland, strange stuff. For dessert a Summer Pudding and Proper Sponge Cake. Monday I am cooking a chicken, a really tasty Italian sauce to go with it with loads of anchovies, capers, tarragon all chopped up, just up my street – they call it Dragoncello sauce here, not sure why. Am also making cooked celery, never been a fan of that, we’ll see!

One of the bad boy roosters
  Also, some news here, the first of the wild garlic flowers have appeared! Spring is on it’s way!

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