Ballymaloe Day 53: Ode to a candied peel

(Edited November 2020)

With the funnel firmly in hand, I picked the fruit slivers out of the saucepan and poured hot syrup into the jar – my candied peel was finally done.

Up at the crack of dawn for stock duty, I slipped into my chef whites after a rather rough night’s sleep.

Though the workload wasn’t particularly long, Liselotte and I divvied out the duties between us and I butchered lamb while she prepared the surrounding vegetables (I’ve discovered on this course that I’m rather handy with a knife when it comes to butchery).

With the stew in the oven, it was time to get back to my candied peel which by the way, takes about three days of work here on the course.

Eventually, after shaking my fist constantly at the pot – and mumbling under my breath – my peel was ready to be put into jars and I was able to strike another task off of my technique sheet.

Lunch was jam-packed with stews, salads, rice and curries and I was delighted to be able to sit back and enjoy such a lovely meal. Some days I find that by the time lunch comes around, you’re not even hungry and skip it, but some meals ain’t worth missing!

Today also marked a very special day for a certain awesome lady on the course called Sarah, who was celebrating a birthday away from her home in the US.

Surprising her with two birthday cakes, as well as glasses of bubbly, she read out a heartfelt poem that captured so many wonderful elements of the course. For she’s a jolly good fellow!

In a break from the norm, one of our teachers, Emer took us for demo today where she showcased how to make classic crepes, stunning soufflés and delicious terrines.

Exhaustion has been building up over the past few weeks and when I got back the Coach House I hopped straight into slippers and comfy clothes.

In an exciting Friday twist, Mammy Kavanagh and my godmother will be in Ballymaloe tomorrow. Bonne nuit agus slán!

Some random things I learned today:

  • If a pastry brush is starting to lose its bristles, throw it out – you don’t want customers/friends to think they’ve found a hair in their food!
  • Unsweetened chocolate is cocoa mass with just a little cocoa butter with the percentage varying from brand-to-brand.
  • Dark chocolate must contain at least 34% cocoa solids (cocoa mass and cocoa butter).
  • Milk chocolate is made from cocoa mass and milk and must contain 10% cocoa mass and at least 12% milk solids.
  • White chocolate is strictly speaking not chocolate as it contains no cocoa mass – it’s just a mixture of cocoa butter, sugar and flavouring.
  • Cocoa powder is derived from cocoa mass or cocoa liquor that has almost all the cocoa butter removed – it is then ground to a powder.

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