Today I made : Ottolenghi pistachio and rosewater meringues. Like many Dublin girls my mother used to bring me on meringue pilgrimages to Avoca, so they are one of my all time favourite desserts. This recipe was fun fun fun. I love the rough, rustic presentation. It really makes a difference when you make food you want to eat.
Oyster Shooters. On the other end of the spectrum, making strange food is also fun. The weirdest, most retro Ballymaloe recipe yet. These are oysters encased in a verjuice jelly, topped with shallots and thyme in chardonnay vinegar. Verjuice is an ingredient I had never heard of until last week. Darina is a big fan of it. Use it when vinegar or lemon juice would be too strong.
Focaccia bread. This recipe confuses me. The instructions don’t reflect reality. It says to knead for five minutes to produce a silky, stretchy, smooth dough. Let me tell you, it took at least forty five minutes at full speed on the Kenwood. I ‘did me’ on this one and embellished it with Kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, Parmesan Maldon sea salt and lashings of olive oil. My teacher told me to hold back but sometimes more is more.
Finally, a loaf of sourdough. It was an oval, not a perfect circle as I had hoped for. Also it got a little too dark, but if I could already make perfect bread I wouldn’t be here.
I felt like I was watching an episode of Chef’s Table in today’s afternoon demo. Rory demonstrated classic Ballymaloe recipes. He is masterful and artistic. Darina has been requested to organise food styling classes but she doesn’t think it would work as style is so subjective. But watching Rory you can pick up a lot of tips and tricks. He knows just what to put where – which colours, textures and shapes compliment each other.
In the evening we had our final wine class with Colm McCan. Goodbyes make me sad, although the rosé and champagne he provided softened the pain. Frankly, wine is still not a subject I am passionate about (drinking it is another story) but I have enjoyed every one of Colm’s classes. The world of wine needs more sommeliers like him, who turn an often intimidating subject into something fun and approachable.
I learned : The symbol of the Camino de Santiago is a scallop shell because it represents many routes leading to one place.
Food of the day : Bread and butter pudding. Never gets old.
Line of the day : ‘Sometimes your peach gets bruised. That’s life.’ Thanks, Rory.