(This post has nothing to do with chickens, I just think they are so gorgeous. They were in the mood for photos today).
Today we made breakfast, my favourite meal of the day. I’m not a huge full Irish fan (more of a pancake person) but we drank Buck’s Fizz (like a stronger mimosa) at lunch so no complaints from me. I got docked points for not including white pudding in my dish but I maintain that it is gross. I also made blackcurrant and lemon verbena jam, muesli and spotted dog (sweet soda bread with raisins).
In the afternoon Rachel Allen covered red meat. She and Gary carved steaks from Rosie, a two year old Angus cow, which was a very impressive sight. As soon as Rosie was brought in people started oohing and aahing, and everyone whipped out their camera phones. I wanted to get up closer to capture some of the details but Rachel had quite a big task in front of her, and a very sharp knife in her hand so I kept back.
I have a lot of respect for Rachel Allen. We have not had many classes with her but she knows everyone’s names and people feel very comfortable asking her questions. She is incredibly knowledgeable and skilled. She carved up that enormous piece of meat, fielding questions the whole time, and being photographed without a hair out of place. Go, girl.
For dinner my housemates Dan, Chrissy and I got whole fish from Ballycotton Seafood to fillet and eat. Next week we have a technique exam and rumour has it one of the things we will be tested on is filleting round fish. Good thing we practised this evening because it turns out we have a bit of work to do! As I’ve said previously, the best thing about Ballymaloe is being with people who want to spend their free time doing things like this.
I learned : More on wet ageing versus dry ageing. Always go for dry. It allows the fat enzymes to break down, tenderising the meat. It also allows water to evaporate, giving a more intense flavour. Wet ageing defeats the purpose of ageing.
Steak loses weight as its cooked. So if you order a 12oz steak that is the weight of the raw product, not what ends up on your plate.
The darker the colour of raw beef, the longer is has been hung.
Food of the day : Cauliflower cheese gratin. Creamy, rich, yet light.
Line of the day : ‘Assume nothing.’ My teacher Tracy’s top tip for success.