Final week of cooking. WAHHHHH! An audible sigh can be heard by most of the class, even the sweetest gal Rachel (Allen) welled up during her last demonstration. This lead to a few tears shed and a realisation that we have one cook left, exams and goodbyes. I’m never leaving. OK???
I have a back injury from my nursing training, it flares up at the oddest of times. This resulted in a fab Paddy’s weekend of physio and bed rest, so on Monday I couldn’t cook. As I missed Monday’s cook I wanted to make sure I packed as much prep for my practical exams as possible. I baked several types of breads on Tuesday, mostly brown yeast and brown soda (apparently the hardest bread to get right). We have to bake a bread (on a lottery basis) as part of our exam so getting practice is key. It was sweet to be back in the kitchen. One of the stand out recipes I made was an arjard salad. Arjard is a cool salad with the basis of red chillis and cucumber with a marinade of sugar, vinegar and water simmered for a few minutes then cooled and poured over the veggies. Honestly look it up… the balance of sweet and sour is just a perfect side to a curry without being starchy.
Wednesday was cool. We spent the morning learning how to prepare and cook sushi and rolls. A few bits of basic trivia… sushi is the name of the rice, not the name of the roll. Sashimi is raw fish sliced thinly and it is only in some sushi rolls. Sushi is generally wrapped in Nori which is seaweed that has been dried and has a really subtle flavour. Dublin’s Zakura on Wexford St is a great example of adapting well with a well balanced menu. Apologies, I’m getting off the point. Rant over. Thankfully, we ended up getting to roll out the norimaki rolls and californian rolls (rice is on the outside rather then the nori). This was good practice. In a way it is vital to feel the texture of the sushi and how much technique is involved in it’s preparation, from julienne sliced vegetables to toasting the seaweed sheets. Not a quick process but so rewarding. Friends and family of mine… expect ALOT of sushi in the coming month.
On Wednesday evening we went on a tour of Ballymaloe House and were kindly offered afternoon tea. The highlight of the tour for me was visiting the wine cellar. After our wine exam on Wednesday morning (hopefully it went ok!) it was interesting to see the wine labels and actually be able to identify that Tempranillo is the grape variety used in Rioja etc. However, I have a long way to go in my wine education ❤
Thursday brought another cake competition. I had to bake a praline cake. The base was a sponge with two tablespoons of praline added. While the sponge baked I had to make a syrup of water and sugar brought to 115 degrees and poured onto two eggs yokes (already whipped). This mixture was whipped to a mousse consistency in the Kenwood mixer. Butter and four tablespoons of praline was added to the mixture that iced the cake. For decor I melted down sugar to make a caramel for the top of the cake. I was delighted to win a prize for my cake ❤ Pam (our tutor) was really thoughtful and gave me a cook book by Camilla Plum called ‘Cook Scandinavia’ in preparation for my move to Copenhagen. Very sweet.
On Friyay I rolled sushi for most of the morning. They didn’t last long enough for me to take a picture. Not a bad complaint in fairness.
Saturday night we had ‘Paella on the Beach’ and it was magical. My roomie Charlie cooked a paella in our house and we finished it on our own bonfire, at sunset, by the sea in Ballycotton. It was a moment we will all remember, super emotional because I only have one more week with so many like minded and talented individuals.
Now for a jam packed week of study!