Thursday, 2 December 2010

Skating Away, on the thin ice of a new day

The big freeze continues, the other day I noticed, as we passed, that Swan Lake was frozen over and flocks of incoming avian visitors were performing unintended acrobatics on landing. Bit like us really. The anticipation and excitement of the Wine exam has passed. Now we face the practical on Wednesday and three written exams on Friday then as they say around here "Sin e"- that's it.

But there's still work to be done. Today was a bit curates egg - good in parts. Skate wing proved no issue whatever. The Filleting knife cut through the sandpaper skin without resistance and, covered in a court bouillon, the skate poached  happily.

With Skate you skin and fillet after cooking as it is easier, and so it was. The skin slid off and the fillets were removed with a Palette knife. A quick dressing of a Coriander Vinaigrette and it was a big 6 pointer in the tasting.

Mary Jo's Chocolates proved more of a challenge. I want to know who Mary Jo is so that I can punch her lights out. On paper not too hard. Make a ganache, chill it and cover in chocolate. So Chocolate melted in Cream and cooled, Grand Marnier added and chilled.

Next pipe the ganache into little dots on silicone paper and chill again. Meanwhile melt more Chocolate and add some cooking oil. Dip the chilled ganache in the Chocolate with the aid of two forks and leave set. Problem: the ganache was so light in texture that even the residual heat of the melted chocolate melted the surface area and meant that the covering slid off. When it did stick it used loads so there was a general shortage by halfway through and they were shedding chocolate faster than a mangy dog sheds hair. Melt more chocolate and re-dip. Not much improvement.

Finally I got sufficient to put up a tasting plate though the iced mint decoration looked better than the chocolate.

I was, however, told that they tasted nice. Meantime one of the colleagues in the kitchen joined Mary Jo on the hit list after her chocolates, perfect in every respect and decorated with piped white chocolate were displayed as the kind of result that it was possible to achieve.

Shortly before I went on a homicidal revenge mission I had to adopt best behaviour. Chef Factor (Irish TV series) were filming at Ballymaloe and had chosen our kitchen to do the background shots and fillers. From Rambo I turned to Peppa Pinc (Peppa Pig to non Welsh speakers) acting reasonably and exuding bonhomie and love for my fellow man. By the time that I went to lunch the red mist had raised a little and I postponed horrible and slow deaths for a while.

The Demo was entertaining and covered ice cream several ways, Pork En Croute, seventy things to do with Smoked Salmon and Spring Rolls. Tomorrow I shall be cooking Chocolate Ice Cream in Hand Made Chocolate Cups, and Vietnamese Spring Rolls. It will also be the last time that I cook on a Friday and will mark the end of the last full week of cooking.

I leave you with a few photos of the kind of food that I will try to recreate tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. You are getting a bit violent in your old age there no wonder your chocolate misbehaved it was probably trembling!