Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Life's a Beach

Sometimes you can peak too early I thought as I headed for the school across the dew soaked lawns at 7:30 this morning.Yesterday after the triumph of the three strand plaited loaf I announced that I would tackle the technically difficult five strand today. Could I get anywhere near a repeat? Had I shot my bolt? Would you - unlike the bread- be taking the rise?

The only way to stand a chance was to involve as much technology as I could. So, on the way to the kitchen I turned on the warming and fermenting cupboard before heading for the ingredients and the excellent Mr Ken Wood (actually he was the eponymous inventor of fine culinary gadgetware).

 Dough made and kneaded, mainly by hand (after Mr K gave me a head start) and resting at a perfect 27 degrees a temperature loved by yeast (and me) I could turn to the day's cooking. First some interesting raw apple muffins - tick baking on the list. These had the most technique of my day's dishes and took longest  -well not if rising dough twice is included. Thrust into an oven at 7x the heat enjoyed by yeast they rose and browned impressively as the apple intensified in sweetness and the raisins and walnuts transformed.

Then the easy one making muesli by combining lots of different grains, fruits and nuts. The difficulty would be in getting it to taste good, and i a world where every dish is graded sufficiently different to give it an Ooh! factor. The reading and interpretation of small print is one of those things that I have done for a living for years so careful study of the recipe and a more careful inspection of the weigh up area next to our kitchen. Hmm one possible alternative ingredient in the recipe and not one to be  found in the weigh up area. Banking that no-one else would have included the alternative I made my way to the central larder.

"You have included Cashews in this, are they in the recipe as no one else has" Yes look  here. "That's delicious" Broad grin on trainee Escoffier.

Next up Breakfast. We each had to cook the perfect breakfast according to a strict formula. Sausage cooked in a medium pan and browned all over, Bacon one back rasher one streaky in a hot pan, crispy and with any fat removed in the pan with a kitchen paper swab, black and white pudding in a low pan heated through but not crispy, tomato and mushroom oven baked and seasoned, egg cooked on minimal heat in clarified butter and no colouring to the white, garnish of your choice.There was to be a prize in each kitchen for the best breakfast. My garnish of perfectly golden triangles of fried bread could not compete with the kidneys and toast added by a competitor so, in a hissy fit I ate it before I could take a photo.

Meanwhile back at the bread yeast had woken and pushed the dough into a soft and glistening pillow oozing that fresh bread smell. Time to get to work. Knocking down and resting over two rolls were made, the remaining dough divided equally onto five strands and we were ready for some serious grain based origami before returning for the second rise.

Just as it finished the second rise and went into the oven Darina announced that the tides were perfect, lunch had been completed early and we were all going to hunt Periwinkles on Garryvoe beach. Our leader duly gave inspirational advice on foraging, seaweeds and how to amuse young children on the beach.

Some of her advice duly wore off and after a trek that made the escape of the Israelites from Egypt look like a Sunday afternoon stroll

 some serious winkling began

These tasty little morsels , best served with vinegar and pepper on Saaaarfend Pier would make a timely but cooked appearance in the Demo which featured flatfish, and to which we were hastened back.

One of the followers of the blog has complained about some graphic images driving her towards vegetarianism so there will be no images of fish being flayed to the bone with a sharp knife or how Dover Sole can be skinned whole before being filleted unlike most fish where it is the other way around. So instead here's a picture of two fluffy kittens playing with a ball of wool.

Oh come on! You didn't believe me did you.

Still, no images of fish being harmed or turned into tasty goujons wrapped in a spiced flour and deep fried. The other dishes demoed included chilli con carne, provencal bean stew, a tuna salad and 1000 things to do with choux pastry. No cooking tomorrow Lectures Day!!

Oh Yes, the bread. Just before Demo I was able to get back to the kitchen and retrieve it.

1 comment:

  1. that bread looks good enough to eat shame I can't say the same about the fish which look very pretty and very dead!