Friday, 12 November 2010

Pies and Prejudice

When I arrived home last night there was a subtle difference, though the storm was building and would soon account for our broadband link, in my room all was silent and the chilling draught that played around my feet had abated. Instead of the delicate odour of air freshener a stronger, metallic whiff now prevailed. My window was fixed!! or at least sealed tight. Apparently I need a new hinge so I cannot open it for a few days till the replacement is in. Bit of a bugger in Summer but in Winter c'est la vie.

I managed a good night's sleep and awoke refreshed and ready for the fray.

Having seen off the fly, light and middle weight pastries I was going to step up and go for the heavyweights starting with flaky.

Arriving in school I quickly produced my duty dictated Biscuits for Cheese and took on the pastry. You could tell that I had moved up a division and was tackling the Big Boys as it immediately landed me a sucker punch. Somehow I had weighed out twice the needed amount of flour!! ( My partner this week also had a similar experience with her souffle and after investigation it was determined that the digital scale was not working). Having wasted an hour I quickly knocked up another dough and chilled it to within an inch of its life.

Taken from the fridge after half an hour it was rolled into a long rectangle, studded with butter and folded in three before being rolled out again and refolded before going back to the fridge. Twice more this was repeated to leave a pastry with 729 layers and a 4:3 flour to butter ratio. Chilled down over the weekend it will top an apple tart/pie on Monday.

I also cooked a rather nice Pork and Spinach Terrine combining four different cuts or cures of Pork with the green vegetable and when plating for tasting I used some of the legendary Cucumber Pickle which was my third dish of the day (+ of course Pastry) to make a pleasant presentation plate.

The morning ended with us cooking Crepes for our lunch with either Orange Butter or Nutella and Hazlenut fillings. Hmm Butter or Nutella, hard choice, love both. Oh well it only takes seconds to knock up a crepe so both.

Finally, before leaving the kitchen, I was caught on film with my partner Fiona

and also by a visiting American who clearly thought that with a beard like that I must be at least the Head Chef if not the Executive. "May I have your name sir, for the caption?" "Obama, Clinton George Obama".

Demo this afternoon featured the, if correctly executed, brilliant Caesar Dressing - in this case accompanying a warm salad of Gubbeen Bacon and a Poached Egg. It also featured  poaching fish. This takes some time, has a criminal risk element and is beat done under cover of darkness. When you have your fish you can then gently simmer it in water or stock until any semblance of translucency is lost and the fish is tender and moist. This needs to be accompanied with one of those sauces where you boil several liquid ingredients to oblivion and then slowly fill the pan with melted butter. Perfect!!

It also gave Rory another chance to demonstrate his intimate understanding of an animal's anatomy. (Midge look away)

Then he demonstrated the Apple Pie which I shall attempt to recreate on Monday.

"This pie uses Flaky Pastry, it's a very technical pastry which gives great results" he introduced the subject. "How many of you have made the Pastry? And How many haven't?"  As the appropriate hands were raised he delivered the bombshell. " You will all make Flaky Pastry ONCE in your lives" " Next week we will make Puff Pastry and it is easier and far more flexible in useage"

I was so depressed at this thought that I could barely taste the ice cream that her served with the Apple Pie or the Caramelised fruit that accompanied it.

Tonight the Blackbird beckons.

1 comment:

  1. ugh didn't look away quick enough don't know what's worse the fish or the beard!