It had been a long day without the need to cook which was, in many ways, frustrating. Having been away from the kitchens yesterday many felt the need to get back to routine and normality, but a day of Demos lay ahead as we entered the school about 45 minutes later than usual. Next week's lists had gone up and I was to return to Kitchen 2 with Joey as my unfortunate stable mate for the week.
So, at 9am Biscuit of the week made its appearance and a treat for us all. From here on in we are allowed to use processors and other electronic aids to cut some of the drudgery!!! This, of course, comes at a cost and menus are likely to get longer and more technical to compensate.
Beef was the main object of the Demo this morning and we had visions of Rory de-boning a cow through one small and invisible incision, whilst Elaine (head gardener) was milking the still living animal. Such thoughts were dashed when Darina entered carrying a 20lb Rib of Beef which she was to cook. The animal was from Ballymaloe's own herd of Angus cows, one of which is pictured
Actually by the time that we saw it the animal had passed through a transitional stage
Quickly the chine bone was removed to facilitate carving and the huge joint bisected to enable quicker and more even cooking. Whilst it waited it's trip to the oven more meat was demonstrated, Lamb Shanks were prepared, browned and sent for a little ride in the casserole with a saucy companion and a few herbs. Lamb made a second appearance as the surprise ingredient in a Cassoulet!.
This bean based southern French dish has much in common with Boston Pork and Beans except that Molasses are usually substituted by Confit Duck and a spicy Toulouse Sausage. The common elements being pork and beans. Now we know that there aare as many recipes for Cassoulet as there are cooks south of Paris but I have never heard of one adding neck chops of lamb to the mix. Oh well, another dish I would not be tasting.
The rest of the morning proceeded or rather ran increasingly over time as recalcitrant meat based dishes refused to deliver their promise in anything but their own time and even the Marmalade on the go joined in the go slow.
Roasties and Yorkshire Puddings strained at the leash to join their natural compatriot Roast Beef but in the meantime a number of dips were outlined and made with crudites being fashioned to carry their salty, savoury or pungently smooth flavourings. Finally the beef behaved and about 45 minutes late we headed to lunch.
The afternoon was devoted to Cooking for Coeliacs. Until yesterday one of our number wondered how many things you could do with something that tasted like Celery. We reminded her that she meant Celeriac only to be confronted with someone who thought that they were an endangered species believed extinct until one was caught of Madagascar in 1953.
There are very divided views on coeliac disease. Sufferers believe that a gluten free life is the only way to live and enjoy life whilst others do not believe that gluten is at the root of their many symptoms, blaming the additives in food rather than the grains which we have eaten for 10,000 years and that some doctors, failing to find an alternative diagnosis call it Coeliac Disease.
This blog will not be taking part in that debate though we have probably got you thinking, and why not. You are not just here to enjoy yourselves or live a vicarious life as a trainee chef, No this blog demands a thinking audience, ruminating on our postings and enhancing your lives from that experience. (Note Royal "we" to demonstrate increasing megalomania of the blogger)
Basically just a three hour demonstration of how to make pastry and bread without using the evil gluten, so no stunningly different photos for you as they looked like cakes or pies and flavour and texture do not come over photographically. Anyway the demonstrator was Rosemary Kearney a former student herself so here's a photo
There was one bit of controversy: Apparently to make cakes and sweet pastry with gluten free flour you have to add Xantham Gum described by Rosemary as a natural product. Her notes though indicate that it is a ground down micro-organism grown under laboratory conditions. Audience it's up to you.
And I would just like to share tonight's sunset with you all