Today I made : Thai Green Chicken Curry. I jointed a chicken to get thighs for this and felt very glad I had practised so much for the exam! I left it to simmer for too long, ended up reducing the sauce and concentrating the flavour, so I had to double the specified coconut milk to balance it out. It was not a beautiful dish but tasted good in the end. If you cook in a wok do not let the food sit in it for too long after it’s done or it will discolour. I learned this the hard way!
I also made broad bean and radish salad. Broad beans take an eternity to prepare but I love them so it doesn’t feel like a burden. Shelling beans is a very summery activity. This dish used preserved lemons, which I had never used before. I love trying new ingredients and having them demystified. Ballymaloe has pushed me to try ingredients I never considered before – barberries, sumac, kidneys, jerusalem artichokes. Eye opening. And mouth opening.
The theme of the afternoon demo was burgers and fries. I had been looking forward to this – Dublin’s best burger place, Bunsen, is owned by my housemate Dan’s brother, a Ballymaloe graduate. I wonder if this was the demo that inspired him? There was big debate over whether or not you should be able to order rare burgers. Darina says that minced beef is the one area where she is fussier than health inspectors. In the US you are allowed to serve rare burgers only if you grind the beef on site. In Ireland you can only serve medium or well done burgers. One thing everyone could agree on is the importance of freshly ground beef, from reliable farmers. Grass-fed. Dry-aged.
I learned : Shellfish is best when there is an ‘R’ in the month.
Food of the day : Peach and blueberry pie. A simple dessert that doesn’t distract from the beautiful produce used.
Line of the day : From Darina. ‘This pudding is so rich it really must be eaten with cream. And yes I know that sounds like a contradiction in terms.’ Sometimes more is more.