Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Fun with Finger Food Followed by Fear and Fish (not)

Lectures dominate Wednesdays here but today we would have two Demos.

After the usual introduction to more cheeses - French Goats Cheeses this time - we settled down to a major demonstration of canapes.

These little handfuls of pure dynamic taste have lots of uses, many as informal starters for meals, but can be used for posh meetings and events, provided for others Dinner Parties or just sold in your local Farmers Market. Done well they are a delight poorly exercised they can destroy an event before it starts.

Canape theory dominated the beginning, when to serve, how to serve, balancing the offerings - hot and cold, meat and vegetarian, sweet and savoury - the kinds of bases that can be used, what to serve with them, what kind of serving dishes and containers may be used, the importance of rubbish receptacles etc.etc.

Then on to the making. Puff Pastry was transformed by the addition of anchovies, miniature Cottage Pies with piped toppings fresh from the oven, satay, kebabs - meat, vegetable, cheese based and fish, Quails Eggs with dressings and spices, Hard boiled Quails eggs on their own but cunningly presented, mini quiches, cunning little containers made from the cheapest possible and otherwise horrible pan bread. To accompany them a whole range of dips and small salads, marinades and dressings.

About the only thing that did not come up was the traditional Cheese and Pineapple Hedgehog, but hey this is Ballymaloe and retro may be good- but class is everything.The old favourite Parma Ham and Melon did get a mention as Darina said "It didn't get to be a classic by being bad" but was not demonstrated. Parma Ham wrapped around good Figs or Dates warranted a mention as did Bacon or Prosciutto wrapped around Oysters though the humble Prawn Cocktail- even in tiny portions or filling one lettuce leaf did not. Mini Yorkshire Puddings with a sliver of steak and a Horseradish Cream made the final lineup but a similar dish - a cocktail sausage and onion chutney as a mini Toad in the Hole did not.

All in all an entertaining and worthwhile morning.

Note cunning use of real birds nest for the hard boiled Quail Eggs

Lunchtime saw the return of the Lamb Madras so yet another day where I had soup followed by er nothing.

It was shock time next: We got the day and time for our final exam cooking. I got 12:30 on Wednesday. At least this means that it is not a 7:30 start and I have Thursday to revise for the three exams on Friday.

It also meant that I had to hand in my menu and list of ingredients. I have chosen

Consomme Julienne

Pan Fried John Dory with
Creamed Spinach
Melted Leeks with Peppers
Herby Mashed Potato

Caramelised Banana Tart

I will also have to cook an as yet unknown bread.

The afternoon dealt with Sushi. About the only salient point which I remember is that Sushi is only the rice, and unless Sushi Rice is used it ain't Sushi. Likewise unless the traditional cooking method is used it ain't Sushi. Oh yes and Sashimi is Raw Fish.

Tomorrow we cook and then have the final and "most important" Wine Lecture ahead of the exam at 8am next Wednesday. What I know about wine is as much as David Cameron knows about poverty so- unless my patented method of dealing with multiple choice questions actually works I am unlikely to leave with a Certificate in Wine Knowledge.

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