Monday, January 29, 2007

I've Made it a Quarter of the Way

Time is flying and it is hard to believe I am a quarter of the way through the course. This week was all about comfort food. We cooked leg of lamb, prime rib and roasted stuffed chicken. I can finally say that I learned how to make a proper Irish Shepherd’s Pie, as well as global versions of the same dish (the Greek version, made with lamb, is called Moussaka). A key component to the success of any food service business is how to use the leftovers. This is where the meat/potato pies come in. “Left over” doesn’t have to be a bad word anymore! I baked a cake called Great Grandmother’s Cake (a sponge cake filled with homemade raspberry jam and fresh whipped cream) and made an amazing fruit sorbet. This week we furthered our knowledge of preserves (another form of preventing any waste) and made marmalades and chutneys. I also whipped up fresh mayo, and my arm almost fell off. Wednesday was lecture day and Colm McCann, the sommelier at the Ballymaloe House, gave us a wine presentation that included a tasting comparison of Old World and New World wines. The highlights of the week were getting to work at the Ballymaloe House restaurant as well as the Crawford Gallery CafĂ©. It is phenomenal how much I learned getting real life experience in these busy kitchens. I even got a nice stint washing dishes! Restaurant sinks are so huge and deep you could practically bathe in them…not that you’d want to.