Ballymaloe Cookery Course: Week 3, Wednesday
Week three – a new partner and, this time round, a new kitchen. I’m cooking in the demo area this week. Lots of space and, with only eight people working there, a calmer atmosphere. Apart from when I discover, at the last minute on Monday, that I’m on cheeseboard duty and have to throw a batch of Cheese Biscuits together at the last minute!
It’s been a savoury week so far for me. Monday I made a composed salad of Roast Red and Yellow Peppers, Zucchini, Parmesan and Rocket, a Fish Gratin with Imokilly Cheddar and Mustard, served with beetroot in a piquant cream sauce and Salmon Papilotte. Plus a Brown Yeast Bread, just for fun. Basically, we are taught a couple of breads a week and we have to practice them as much as possible, on top of everything else that we are cooking. Tuesday was much more straightforward. A dish of spicy Black Eyed Beans with Mushrooms and Basmati rice was my main event as the Apple Chilli Jelly didn’t drip fast enough to be finished in that class. I’m in early on Thursday to get that sorted out. I also made a loaf of Brown Soda Bread but, due to oven issues, I had a nicely shaped brick to serve up at lunchtime. That was one loaf that didn’t make it back to my Ballycotton house!
One of the many advantages to living in Ballycotton is being able to participate in all the extra-curricular activities. Last night I spent in the kitchens of Ballymaloe House, making up salads and trying to be useful as the chefs whizzed around. This Saturday I’m off to work at the the market in Middleton on the Ballymaloe stall. As with meeting cheesemakers like Bill Hogan and Ari Weinzweig of Zingermans Deli, it’s great to get these opportunities to see behind the scenes – it certainly makes you appreciate a plate of food in a restaurant or a sliver of Gabriel cheese that much more.