Day 51 – Sousing and Strawberries

Today I made : Soused mackerel. Sousing – cooking in vinegar – is a method of preservation. Very medieval Scandinavian. Not something I would order myself, but a good way to practise filleting fish, and I think the shiny silver skin is beautiful, like a slinky disco dress. Strawberry tart. I used Friday’s puff pastry…

Day 50 – Rib Rolling

Today I made : Tuna Steak with pipperonata and Kalamata olive tapenade. I am not usually a big fan of peppers but pipperonata – pepper, tomato and basil stew – is okay with me. I had concerns about cooking tuna because I have read so much about it being endangered but I was assured this was…

Day 49 – Aloo Makallah

Today I made : Duck breasts with spiced lentils and caramelised apples. I LOVED this dish. Each element is good alone but together were one of ‘those food moments.’ .Rich meat, sweet juicy apples and earthy lentils. The chili in the lentils gave it interest but no heat. The sweet fruit makes the meat taste meatier….

Day 48 – Fire

Wednesday. Theory day. No cooking, lots of learning. We covered exam topics in the morning. Do YOU know how cold your freezer should be? Or how much acidity is in extra virgin olive oil? (-18C, and 1%.) For lunch, Mariano from Brazil (rumour has it he used to  work with Francis Mallmann) roasted a lamb…

Day 47 – Kassler

I started early this morning with a trip to the greenhouse to pick herbs and vegetables for the kitchens. My housemate Chrissy and I picked tomatoes, kohlrabi, courgettes, rocket and herbs. Today I made : Kassler. A cured and oak-smoked loin of pork. I did not care for this – it had a gummy texture, and…

Day 46 – Oyster Shooters

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…

Day 45 – Shanagarry Chicken

Today I made : Shanagarry Chicken Casserole and Ulster champ (buttery mashed potatoes with peas and parsley). This is rustic, peasant style food but labour intensive. You have to joint a whole chicken, make gravy and use a lot of equipment, which means lots of washing up.  I added mushrooms a la creme to make…

Day 44 – Strawberries and Cream

Today I made : Almond meringue with strawberries and cream. The toasted almonds make it crunchy and toasty, a nice contrast to the juicy berries.  I had extra meringue so I made these little babies with mashed strawberries and cream. I like it when there are leftovers to play with because you can present them…

Day 43 – Roasted Field Mice 

This morning we had a demo on canapés and finger food. Rory and Darina shared ideas for catering and entertaining. It’s very funny to watch the brother sister duo working together. The ability to pull off a pair of statement specs clearly runs in the family.  Tip of the trade : keep presentation trays busy…

Day 42 – Pasta

Today I made : Lasagne verde. This took FOREVER. One of the big things I have realised at Ballymaloe is how many corners I cut when cooking at home. If you want to charge money for your food you have to do things right. I had to individually destalk the spinach leaves without bruising them,…