Excuse how late I am posting last weeks antics. It was my birthday Feb 3rd and if you scroll down to the last picture it sums up the reason why I was delayed. Huge hugs to my housemates and fab classmates for making a Ballymaloe birthday so memorable. Also to the gang and family at home thanks for the tiaras and smash hits. So much love.
The Monday of ‘Week Four’ began by cooking a Portobello mushroom burger with sun dried tomatoes, pesto and goat’s cheese on a brioche bun. Right. First of all I adore meat so much the mushroom was off to a bad start. Surprisingly it was grand apart from the fact that the mushroom wasn’t cooked enough (it was in at 230 degrees for 15 minutes. I’d be baked. It was in fact not baked). It still tasted ‘GORGEOUS’ according to my tutor Richard. He’s a sarcastic man but I’ll pretend he isn’t. I also made a vat of french fries thinly sliced and chunky rustic fries (with the skins left on) both twice fried to give extra fluff in the middle. Only partially deep fry both types of fries at a low temp 120-140 degrees until just cooked but not colored. Then you can re fry when you are ready to serve. Tip: sprinkle with salt straight away before dying off the oil, it keeps the salt in place.
Tuesday I gave white yeast bread a go. It’s tricky. There are a lot of processes to activate the yeast and my arm went dead from kneading the dough (to activate the gluten and make it spongy and springy). Alas, I made a pretty stellar loaf and dinner rolls. Happy days. During all the bread processes, I got going on making marzipan which is super interesting. The recipe is in Darina Allen’s book on ‘The Ballymaloe Course’ if anyone wants to follow the recipes I make. I then baked an apple filled with marzipan and covered in cinnamon sugar. The sugar melts and makes a caramel glaze on the hot apple (AMAZING). The marzipan was also used to pop in between dates with the stone removed and squished with pistachios on the outside for decoration.
On Wednesday we had a full day on ‘How to run a business’ with Blaithnaid Bergin. There were exercises which helped us to understand why we need certain ‘systems’ to make a business successful and profitable. We were advised to follow suit with the likes of Mc Donalds etc. in how they run systems that can be replicated across the world. I think I recall she advised us to work in Mc Donalds after the course. I’d say my mammy would love that. However horrified we were as a class, it makes absolute sense in terms of business to absorb the systems they use. In groups we had to summarize what we learned over the day in one quote. Stephanie came up with the best line anyone has ever thought of ‘Systems are sexy’. GAS.
Roast chicken with all the trimmings. Hell yes. That was my Thursday. Everything went well I am happy to report. As part of our technique exam next week (EEEEEK), we have to joint a full chicken. Richard, my tutor nearly killed me (kindly) for touching the chicken with my hands constantly while carving the chicken. He was quick to point out that if I did this during service at the table I would be fired. I’ll remember the carving fork next time.
MY BIRTHDAY. Or Friday to most people. Hilariously and coincidentally, we had a cake competition. Basically I had 24 cakes made for me. Not really but sher look. My cake was a victoria sponge with lemon zest base. Each base was cut in half for four layers of sponge. All layers were filled with a tart lemon curd. When the cake was assembled, I used lemon buttercream to crumb cover the initial cake. This adds to the flavor and gave me the ‘perfect cake’ shape for when I poured glace icing over the whole cake. Tops marks from my tutor. YAY. I didn’t win the competition but I wasn’t robbed. The winner Rosie had fab caramel work and chocolate shards. GO GIRL!
Friday night my Ballymaloe family threw me a mexican themed party complete with drawn on mustaches and ponchos for the men and a pinata for me to pound with a stick. Thanks again you beauties x
Fab week. Thanks pals at home and in Cork.