Sunday, 4 March 2012

Ballymaloe Day 34, 23rd February - Apricot Tart and a frisky Crab

In Kitchen 1 today there was a lot on, smoked fish, steak and all the trimmings and the frangipane desserts. I began with the Apricot and Frangipane Tart. Cooking the pastry was a bit tricky but the end result was impressive, much better than the Medjool Date Tart de Terrible from the other week. I served it with the ubiquitous softly whipped cream. I made Flaky Pastry too, layering up the pastry with cubes of butter and rolling, turning and chilling it till you have leaves and leaves of pastry, awesome. I also cooked my sirloin steak medium and made Bearnaise Sauce and two kinds of chips, including the very fine Pommes Allumettes. Not the greatest fan of the deep fat fryer, too scary! But they’re used all the time here so getting used to it. The Bearnaise sauce was delicious! It’s kept warm in a Pyrex jug sat in hot water – a great tip. Can’t complain when lunch is a huge juicy steak with all the trimmings, yum!

In the afternoon we had a visit from Peter Ward of Country Choice delicatessan in Nenagh He showed us a huge whole wheel of top quality Parmesan and talked a bit about the importance of the quality of ingredients.

There was also much excitement as we had fresh live crabs in front of us for the demonstration. They were pretty lively and snapping their claws all over the place! You heat them up in the water slowly and they’re supposed to fall asleep and unconscious before they get cooked. Hmm, felt a bit bad but I like eating crab so what can you do? It was great to see how to prepare the crab and get every scrap of meat out of the body and the claws. Both the white and brown meat went into some tasty spring rolls served with a chilli dipping sauce. Next up was poached Monkfish, that is one ugly fish, that’s for sure. Dessert was Vanilla Ice Cream and Apple or Rhubarb Pie. I am cooking the Monkfish and the Apple Pie using the Flaky Pastry I made earlier in the day.


Spring Roll


Apple Pie

Glazed Fruit as Petit Fours

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