Monday, 6 December 2010

Monday I've got Friday on my mind

So here we are, the last week and this morning the last cooking session until the exam.

It was still fairly frosty as I walked over and the school was not a lot warmer. Still, it was beautifully clear and the coast was easily visible across the farm.
The kitchen stood empty, unusual at 8am because the super keen are in making 150 extra breads, dicing Rhino down to 1mm cubes, treading their home made wine or recreating the Taj Mahal in meringue. Not so today, the only sign of life was my folder and knives on my workstation.

So a coffee before I started and then down to it. My altruistic side came to the fore as I decided that I would cook the main course Lamb Tagine which my graduating partner would have tackled if present. Lamb is always a challenge as I cannot taste the dish in the making. However a challenge is always welcome so here goes.

3lbs of Lamb were diced and spiced, onions and garlic chopped, tomatoes juiced ( well packet opened) and we were in business.

First 45 minutes gentle simmer then the seasoning checked. Thanks to willing or press ganged colleagues (blackmail is such an ugly word) I had a hint of the possibilities. The Dates and Coriander added and 25 minutes or so with the lid off.

As you can see the mix reduces and thickens whilst heading towards unctuousness- or so I am told. Anyhow some more tasting crash testers and minor adjustments and I thought it ready. But, let's keep it just bubbling and that rich sauce thickening and improving.

The accompaniment was Cous Cous, fortunately given some degree of flavour by Apricots and Pistachios, Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper and toasted Almonds - I salted mine for a little extra kick. Cous Cous is alright but I would far rather have been cooking the Romanesco which a colleague had on the agenda, if for no other reason  - it is beautiful.

But I was stuck with Cous Cous and all I could do was try to maximise the taste of a dish based on wheat. Not only that but Cous Cous does not take much culinary expertise. Pot Noodles are technically more difficult and ground polystyrene more tasty. And it does not take any time so I had a chance to whack out some Rustic Roast Potatoes.

Then time to plate.Amazingly for a dish that I had not tasted it scored 6. Thanks to my tasting team who should be very proud of their efforts.

Lunch and duties over I headed to the second last Demo. Chicken breasts ruled the day and were presented in different ways and with different accompaniments. Rory was unable to demonstrate extreme sword action so he contented himself with a filleting knife and deboning a chicken before stuffing it back to shape.

And that was the last Monday of the course. Some things happened including a Swiss student making little Christmas loaves, figures of elves, angels etc in honour of St Nicholas day, the last one being Darina. Hopefully they will be cooked tonight and I will take photos tomorrow.

Oh yes, I got 85% in the Wine exam and will have at least one certificate to show for my three months at Ballymaloe.

1 comment:

  1. Well Done you one down not sure how many to go but I bet they will all be passes