Saturday, 11 February 2012

Ballymaloe Day 16, 30th January - Dragon Sauce (not the Hungarian Horntail variety)

Into Week 4, I have no idea where the time is going and all I know is I have not practiced segmenting an orange or memorised herbs enough (yes, the exams are approaching). Well, no time to think about that this Monday as I am in a new kitchen, Kitchen 2 over the other side of the school, and it's a new layout of everything to learn all over again. I have a small work station where I am but it does have a great view over the fields which I never had in Possilpark, Glasgow!

I was cooking the roast chicken, again, a fine organic specimen from Aherne's, the Dragoncello sauce and much less excitingly, Creamed Celery. Actually that's being mean to the poor old celery - it can't help not being my favourite vegetable! Removed the chicken fromt he wishbone myself, the third time I think I've done it now, then seasoned it inside and out and rubbed some soft butter onto the skin. I say soft, but it is so cold in Kitchen 2 that the butter was not ideal. Anyway, my chicken went in with his pal for company (shared an oven with someone else to save space) and onto the sauce.

Bit of confusion as to whether I was making the Dragoncello sauce or not as no tarragon to be seen but eventually found out I was and tore the italian bread into pieces to soak in vinegar. The sauce has to be made ahead so the flavours can really develop. There's loads of capers and anchovies and other really strong flavours but it all works really well. Once the herbs are chopped they have to be used straight away and go straight into olive oil and the sauce to retain their fresh flavour. I could have eaten a bowl of this but it seemed to take me forever to to get it all together. Then I cooked the celery which was actually really tasty, I don't like cooked celery as a rule but this was lovely, lots of flavour and still with some bite but the sauce was a bit less saucy than it should have been. The chicken didn't need much attention, quite frankly all the work had been done before I got my hands on it as they are such good chickens! I need to speed up though as one roast chicken and two side dishes does not a productive day make!

Onto the afternoon, and following on from Friday's cake we had 4 different types of sponge, chocolate, coffee, orange and lemon. Rory also demonstrated how to make crystallised flowers and chocolate shapes and at the other end of the spectrum, Gravlax which will be ready in a few days! Yum! There was also french onion soup and how to use up the chicken leftovers but the real excitement was the cakes, we will have a competition tomorrow for the best one!

Cakes - the standard we're aiming for!

Some pheasants hanging outside - country life!

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