Sunday, 4 March 2012

Ballymaloe Day 35, 24th February - Girl vs Monkfish


 Last day of Week 7 but plenty to be getting on with in the morning. I had to make more pastry for the base of the Apple Pie, this time a sweet shortcrust pastry. Then once rolled and chilled this is combined with the apples, sugar and a lid of flaky pastry before going in the oven. The top was a bit fiddly with the scalloped edges and pastry leaves for decoration. The pie is cooked on a Pyrex plate, which I had never seen before but Pyrex plates are very popular here and used for lots of recipes. The pie took much longer than you’d think to get it all together and in the oven. Next was the cream and red pepper sauce for the monkfish, a bit bland in my opinion but apparently it is very popular on the menu at Ballymaloe House. Although I wasn’t using crab I got the chance to extract the meat from the cooked crustacean so that was another technique practiced and I was happy.



Lastly was preparing and poaching the monkfish. The ugly beast and I were never going to get on but he was easily the slimiest fish we’ve had to deal with. I don’t really mind all the gross stuff we’ve done so far but this was grim. The skin was supposed to be kind of pulled off but it was so slimy it seemed to take me forever getting it off and trimming off all the membraney bits. You only really use the monkfish tail, that’s where the meat is; the other half of him goes in the stock pot. I poached the collops of fish in simmering water and served it with the pepper sauce and chervil. The pie was great, and I made custard flecked with vanilla seeds to go with it. Another carry on, the custard started to split, I had to rescue it with a blender…

Monkfish before...

And after!

My Apple Pie


After all those adventures I was ready for a snooze but the afternoon’s demonstration was good, vegetable curries, risotto and a fabulous chocolate tart. Then in the evening the housemates and I went into Midleton to a shop and restaurant called Farmgate. It’s a nice place with quirky décor and full of ladies who lunch types. As ever, they’re all about seasonal local produce. I had the mussels and the roast chicken which was delicious and full of flavour and a bit of crème brulee. The housemates All the mains came with a generous portion of roast and green veg. It was all tasty but expensive!





Farmgate feast