Sunday, 19 February 2012

Ballymaloe Day 21, 6th February - Rhubarb, Seafood, Breakfast

Week 5 looms, and I am a third of the way through the course, eeek! Still in Kitchen 2 this week, and I am partnered with my housemate Gas Mark 7. I was making the Poached Rhubarb, Irish Shellfish Platter, Kale Colcannon and Brown Yeast Bread. The new season forced rhubarb is bright pink and very pretty. You cut it on the diagonal like celery and cook it in syrup for just a minute, then leave to cool. It has a delicious flavour and would go well with some rich Jersey Cream. It has a wonderful colour too, what Rory calls ‘Chanel Pink’ love it.

The Kale Colcannon featured, Kale, obviously, my nemesis here at the school. I think it is a much overrated vegetable, horse feed for a reason! I’ve cooked it loads and if we never cross paths again it will be too soon! It’s covered in slugs and I had to pick them all off before cooking it. Then the spuds; so far I have managed to avoid cooking mashed potato as I am a bit scared of making it in the Kenwood mixer but it was actually okay and tasty. Plenty of seasoning and butter!

Also got pretty good at the Brown Yeast Bread and improved on the one I made last Friday. You have to listen out for the yeast fizzing in the water and treacle, they listen to the food a lot here, no radio in the kitchen and certainly no Morrissey! Then we tackled the fresh fresh fresh Irish Shellfish from Ballycotton Seafood. Gas Mark 7 made some tasty mayonnaise and I cooked the clams and mussels and opened my first oyster! I will definitely be getting a little oyster knife and having them at home from now on.

An urchin sneaked on to the plate

Rhubarb

Brown Yeast Bread

My oyster top right as part of the Fruits de Mer

After lunch today’s demonstration was all about cooking breakfast. This is ideal if you are thinking of a cafĂ© or B&B. There was fresh fruit salad, muesli, granola, muffins, waffles, three types of jam, kippers then the full Irish Breakfast. We also saw a few different types of porridge including a new organic brand Kilbeggan Rolled Oats which are grown and rolled by the producer himself. At the start of the demonstration we met some more local producers Noreen and Martin Conroy who farm free range pigs and make really good sausages locally with no additives. They sell at three farmers' markets in the area. The breakfast also featured streaky and loin bacon, white and black pudding, mushrooms, tomatoes, potato bread and eggs. Perfectly scrambled, poached and fried eggs. It would be great for your business to offer a delicious breakfast like this made with good ingredients and would definitely set you apart from the crowd! For a fab destination breakfast I recommend http://www.thespoonsonskye.com

What a feast!