Sunday, 17 October 2010

Sloe-ly does it

Sunday brought the communal meal which much preparation had been done yesterday, but it also brought the need to actually do the tasks which had been successfully sidelined, the filing and ironing.
Filing seemed the lesser of two evils so the bed was soon covered in recipes waiting to be categorised, alphabetised and slipped into plastic folders before being put into the relevant ring binder. Plastic folders are essential a) to save having to punch holes in hundreds of sheets of paper and b) because they can only enter the kitchen if suitably protected from spillages etc.

Only plastic wrapped paper in the kitchen is one of the cardinal rules here, along with No Clay in the Kitchen. Both make sense plastic sheathing for the reason set out above and no clay because you would not want to introduce mud into a clean kitchen. After the usual dilemmas does Yorkshire Pudding go under Breads and Batters or Accompaniments (and where the hell do Pigs in Blankets go?) some kind of order broke out in the filing department and I had little alternative to the ironing.
At this stage coffee seemed to be a sensible alternative and was duly taken, twice. Thus with my autonomic nervous system a-jangle I headed to the utility room. The great god Persil was smiling on me though as the washer and dryer were both on. This may not seem significant but when both are on and the iron takes an additional toll on the wiring system in the utility room the fuses trip and every wall socket in the house goes down. A responsible person, therefore, would not wish to inflict electrical Armageddon on their colleagues and would postpone their ironing. I was VERY responsible and went for lunch.
Returning later I found that the ‘processe de lavage’ had ended and the ironing awaited. Now I have to admit that I have improved my skills in this area. No longer do my whites suggest that I sleep in them every night, now they look as though they were previously worn by one of those pug type dogs with all the rolls of skin and wrinkles. But the cuffs are always really sharply creased so the overall effect when an apron is worn is acceptable.
Warming up on a couple of cheap shirts, (the kind that are meant to be worn rumpled and which are cheap enough to bin if iron shaped holes suddenly appear in them) I tackled the mighty whites and vanquished them – well to the best of my (strictly limited) abilities.
I was now free for the day, or at least till I had to prep the Risotto. What to do?
Answer, make Sloe Gin!! They are big on foraging here at Ballymaloe so when the sloes grow in your own backyard it would be criminal not to use them and, since they are free and in season it would be criminal for you, dear reader, not to either.So simple as well. Wash 1lb sloes, put in jar with 4oz sugar and top up with gin. Shake daily for two weeks then once a week for another month then leave as long as you can bear. Needs a minimum 10-12 weeks though ours will be tested earlier as we will all be going home.

Updates on the gin as time goes by.

Finally time to cook the Risotto using crab meat donated after a Demo last week. Bit concerned as this is in many ways my signature dish. All went well and all enjoyed it.

WE also had a very good Winter Pudding, basically a Summer Pudding but made with Cake not bread and with a bias toward Blueberries. Lovely thank you Jean.

Now knackered and time to get some sleep before a full on cook tomorrow.


  1. Sounds a great way to spend a weekend – I love ambling around a market, making risotto and stock.

  2. Well if you didn't put crab in your risotto I might have travelled hundreds of miles to do the ironing in exchange for a portion

    The best ironing tip I can give is to get a steam generator iron they are fantastic so good you only have to iron the front of a garment!