In the run up to our pop up dinner on the upcoming Saturday (11th of April) Phoebe and I were up at the crack of dawn every morning… speaking to gardeners about decor and produce, organizing what days we can start to forage for our greenhouse idea and all that comes with setting up a full pop up restaurant. My focus was primarily on the pop up dinner but we still had a full week of cooking to contend with…
Monday began with middle eastern flavors. I was so skeptical about using prunes as the base for a dessert. I think it is maybe a naive Irish perception but after using prunes in this way I stand firmly corrected. The recipe is called ‘Agen stuffed prunes with rosewater cream’ and half the recipe is enough for four people, as it is so rich. Take 14-16 prunes and remove the stone while keeping the two halves attached. Stuff them with a hazelnut and close over. Simmer with 75mls of both water and red wine until the prunes are nice and tender (keep the lid on). When the prunes are soft and tender to touch just allow everything to cool in the pot. Whip up some cream to soft peaks and add 1/2 a teaspoon of rosewater. Toast a few hazelnuts and chop them roughly, then sprinkle them on top. I literally cant say how delicious this is, it has inspired my final menu ❤
On Monday I made the brioche dough for Tuesday’s bake, as it needs overnight to solidify the butter. I loved making Brioche. It’s not easy and it has a lot of processes but when the buns come out fully formed and fabulously buttery it’s all worth it. I also made some deviled eggs which reminded me of working Monday night BBQ’s in the Hamptons. Gas.
On Thursday we had our SCHOOL TOUR ❤ Absolutely gas! I went on the West Cork tour so we firstly walked down the road to Bill Casey’s smoked salmon factory. He explained how he prepares the fish and smokes them. We got a cheeky taster. Delicious. Then we got on the bus to Mahon Point Farmers Market which was super interesting. We met a lot of the suppliers to local Cork areas. The vendors all offered something new and different. There was rye sourdough breads, fermented drinks and street food done really well. I would recommend anyone is the area to go and sample the produce. From there we parted ways with half of the group and went to a cheese making factory called Toons Bridge Dairy which was fascinating. We got to see the full product from milk to cheese. We got to taste mozzarella that was still warm and caciocavallo that had been hung in their cold room. Very cool experience overall. The dairy is located in Macroom and they cook pizzas in the cafe which are supposed to be wonderful.
From the dairy we went to Macroom Mills, which is the last surviving stone mill in Ireland. Darina wants us all to become an apprentice. I have zero interest but it’s lovely to see a very traditional way of making oats and flour preserved by one man. The last stop on our tour was to Cronin’s Pub in Crosshaven. This pub has a massive selection of gin and whiskey and is without a doubt worth a little jaunt from Cork city to experience it, especially in summer. They serve fab fish in very traditional ways. Really gorg.
Friday I baked a nine plait white yeast bread. I got the idea from Ross one of the lads on the course. He taught me his wise ways. Now we are upping the anti and going for a 17 plait bread by the end of the course. I’ll keep you posted.