Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Yee Hah- it's Tuesday

I awoke in a cold sweat. Not that of fear for the incipient exams but that of emerging man flu. Actually it was ordinary flu and Lemsip and kitchen heat soon dispelled the original achy feelings and by lunchtime I had achieved a complete, if miraculous, recovery. Not that the exams aren't important but they are on Friday and Thursday evening still leaves plenty of panic time.

Into the kitchen with my new knife case which is immensely practical for carrying knives but opens to about the size of a billiard table when you want to get them out! Today looked very busy with four kinds of pate to be made and combined into a fish terrine. Not only that but it had to be accompanied by a tomato coulis, cucumber pickle and Melba toast. Then I had to make shortbread biscuits, pipe cream and add strawberries to make a tasty strawberry sandwich.

Good news! I only had to make the Smoked Mackerel Pate and combine others efforts into the terrine!! Oh yes, and make the coulis, pickle and Melba toast. The terrine had to rest between the addition of each layer and would take all morning if not longer. To add to the fun the boats were late back into Ballycotton and both Shrimp and Crab were on the boat. By the time that they had cooked, cooled and been processed into the relevant pates, and cooled again the prospects of Fish Terrine as a starter for lunch were minimal at best and heading for the horizon like an amphetamine fueled antelope.

I made the pate and accompaniments before tackling that old adversary pastry/biscuit mix. On Friday, in the battle with Choux Pastry, food won. Today in the eternal struggle of man versus food Man would try for revenge. The Piping bag would get its second outing and this time the cream would be whipped to a consistency that would not pour out of the end, oh no! any further whipping would have produced a visit from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Cream. Any further and I would be producing butter.

Amazingly the biscuit dough behaved and even turned a nice golden hue after 10 minutes in a moderate oven and I was able to plate up some reasonable looking dishes:
Smoked Mackerel Pate

Tomato Coulis

Strawberry Shortcake

Side View

The Fish Terrine did not finish in time for lunch so we shall have it tomorrow. As the non-pate students had all cooked lamb stews of varying varieties my own lunch was minimal, two tiny pates and some salad leaves. Tomorrow we shall be aeating vegetarioan dishes as we shall on Thursday. For a non Lamb eater there can be times with a distressing lack of protein though this is I think a ploy. The lack of protein and red meat may just curb the ambitions of the younger course members - put bromide in their tea and give me meat is my response.

You can never anticipate what will happen next at Ballymaloe, last week we were whisked off on a random Periwinkle hunt today a random group of Bluegrass players turned up and insisting on playing at the beginning of our Demo.

Yee Hah
The musical intervention over we returned to serious stuff with a demonstration of vegetable curries, what to do with a left over fool - fling it thought I, freeze it thought our leader, and produce it as a parfait.

After 3 days off it was good to be back in the routine, knackering though it may be. Tomorrow it's lectures all day with Cheese of the week, Biscuit or Cake of the week, Wines of the world, Australia and an afternoon demo of Tapas followed by Sherry Part 2. There may yet be a twist in the tail in the Cheese section. Read tomorrow and find out whether there was.

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