Week Seven: Ballymaloe

There is a feeling of finality through this week’s cooking. We have four weeks left but it just seems like people are freaking out about what the next step is and figuring out ways to stay in this fascinating bubble. For me, I’m off to Copenhagen for three months to intern in Noma’s sister restaurant 108. The thought of working in one of the best restaurant’s in the world has me pinching myself (GAHHH), beyond excited to continue this adventure!

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Jerusalem Artichokes

My Mammy’s Wednesday night love is a fab steak after three extra long days working. With that in mind, Monday brought steak and chips. Having cooked steak every week for the majority of my life I felt pretty confident in my ability. Cheeky tips that I thought were helpful. Good beef=good steak. Have the pan hot enough that the meat sizzles and if it doesn’t take it off and wait until it does. Don’t oil the pan, oil the meat, this retains the seal and keeps the flavour locked it. Season well with salt and pepper. The trick to know how much you want a steak cooked is pretty simple. On one hand, touch your thumb to your baby finger, this is a well done steak . As you bring your thumb back through your fingers the steak becomes rarer. Alas, the perfect steak.

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On Tuesday  I prepared some rack of lamb various ways. The prep for a rack of lamb is pretty intense but I really enjoyed frenching the bones super clean. Has anyone heard of Sumac? It’s a deep red berry spice from the Middle East, it’s this citrus flavour that seeps into the lamb when it’s rubbed on. It’s delicious and I had no idea it existed but I can’t wait to work with it now. We rubbed the Sumac on the lamb as a crumb coating and roasted it. Fab!

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That evening I spent a few hours learning about fermentation. The internship in 108 centers around foraging and fermentation so this was really valuable for me. We learned about Kefir, Kombucha and made Sauerkraut to ferment. Kefir is a fermented drink that is full of nutrients and probiotics… it is amazing for digestion and a healthy gut. Grains are used that are a starter of yeast for fermentation. It requires sugar and liquid to feed on. Then after three days you flavour it to your liking.  It comes in milk or water Kefir. I prefer water Kefir because fizzy milk is just odd to me and textually weird. I love Kombucha wayyyy more though, it is basically a sweet tea that a colony of bacteria feeds on the sugar you give it and ferments to give a tea/vinegar flavour that is mild and then you add any ingredient you want to flavour it.  Flavours like strawberry and basil or rosemary and lemon are so yum. Kombucha is so good for you and easy to make once you have a colony (SCOBY- Symboitic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) from anyone else. I have SCOBYs if anyone needs one!

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Mr. Sauerkraut looking all fermentating

Vegetarian cookery demo all Wednesday morning. As you can tell by this past Monday I eat meat, and lots of it. However I adore veggies and spices so this was fun. The demo was fairly spicy in nature with lots of curries like squash and spinach. Think dahl, samosas, tabbouleh and hummus and that was our Wednesday. The lunch after the demo was probably the best buffet meal I have had in my life. No meat? No problem obviously. Maybe I’ll give it a go. Sometime. In the future.

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Louise posing for a photo while I carved the whole thing after

Wednesday eve brought another vino class. This time we packed our bags and went to Spain

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The Lobby/PopUp Inspo

Pasta day on Thursday yet again and it was wonderful. I want to make pasta for the rest of my life. Preferably with some wise old Nona in rural Tuscany, but I haven’t really thought about it that much. The ravioli was stuffed with mascapone, ricotta and fresh herbs finely chopped. While the pasta cooks pop on some 50g butter and 20-30 sage leaves, let the butter melt with the leaves. I promise you when you add the pasta to the butter and eat, you will dream about this sauce for the rest of your days. I am going to eat sage butter with everything possible. It’s beyond a good sauce, it’s a perfect balance.

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How Beautiful?

Friday Fish n’Chips in full swing. First I made a cous cous salad with thones of fresh herbs and good quality olive oil. Then I spent most of the day preparing squid for frying. Removing the beak from the squid has to be the craziest thing to do. I can’t say I enjoyed it. Also, I had no idea that Tartar sauce has egg white chopped into it? Weird right?

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Time is going too quick. I need to hit pause right now. Have a lovely week folks!

Happy Sunday,

Shauna xoxo

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