Sunday, 26 February 2012

Ballymaloe Day 27, February 14th - Valentine's Cabbage

Valentine's Day and everyone in the school was in good spirits. Got loads done in the kitchen, made a tasty fish curry using Pollock which I filleted myself, made Pilaff Rice, then got a few techniques done including Glazed Carrots and a couple of attempts at a French Omlette. Completely forgot to take any pictures but the curry was yum! Here are some of the salad leaves we had to memorise instead:

Take note students!

Back in the afternoon's demonstration and Rachel made Chocolate Profiteroles and a delicious Chilli Con Carne, using chunks of meat instead of mince and a chilli sauce which you make first and then add to the stew depending on how hot you like it. It was so, so tasty and the meat made a real difference and elevated what could be a 'normal' dish to something else. They're always doing that round here! I paid close attention to the profiteroles as I am making them on Thursday. It's also my life's ambition to make a Croquembouche one day so it was great!

The demo kitchen was suitably decorated today

Chocolate Profiteroles

It was all tasty, but no sooner and I had to rush over to the kitchen at Ballymaloe House to spend a night working in the kitchen. All the students get the chance to have a night or two's work experience here and to see how a restaurant kitchen works. It wasn't too busy as it was a Tuesday, even for Valentine's Day, but I saw the chefs in action and tried not to get in the way too much! Got some tips on segmenting an orange for the exam and on presentation. A lot of the dishes on the menu are things we have actually cooked here like Smoked Salmon Rillette and Fruit Sorbet. Again, the focus is on fresh local produce and classic dishes. One of the chefs had made a wild garlic custard served in a tiny teacup, it was delicious! Then they put me to work chopping a box full of muddy, slug-covered cabbages. Local indeed! Once they'd corrected my amateur chopping technique, and I'd disposed of the molluscs I had to wash the whole lot in the scullery. It's all good experience but it's the last Valentine's Day I will ever spend on that side of the kitchen that's for sure!!

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