Ballymaloe Day 44: Stuffed to the brim

“What am I doing to my body?!” I exclaimed in amused exasperation as I gave my dishes up for washing, “I think I’m going to explode”.

Back in the kitchen in Ballymaloe, and into the normal routine of living in a culinary bubble, I was tired but happy to be back.

As well as cooking up my normal list of dishes, I also had to make butter for the dining room – if you ever get the chance to make butter in your life, do!

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It’s so easy and simple to make that you’ll be the envy of all of your friends (though remember that you probably won’t save money if you make your own as cream can cost a fair bit).

After my teacher Sue and I mused about the size of my butter balls, I got started on my swede turnip soup.

Despite my seasoning hiccup and missing out on making a raita, I was over the moon to receive a “10” for my apple fudge cake (see lead image), and I must admit, I did think it was quite tasty!

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Ending today’s cooking on a high, I headed into the dining room where I ate like an absolute king.

Going back for seconds on a glorious Parmesan risotto and having lashings of curry and cheese, I was savouring the flavours.

Worried that I may have to be carted off on a trolley to demo, I hauled myself out of my chair and put my dish away.

Considerably stuffed to the brim and annoyed that I hadn’t worn elasticated pants, I dragged the food baby in my stomach to demo and plonked myself down in a seat.

We had Rachel in with us today and assisted by Pat and Gary she demoed various types of cakes and… BURGERS.

I’m an absolute sucker for good burgers (despite developing slight pseudodysphagia when I nearly lost my life choking on one) – but when I ogled them with hungry eyes, I was actually quite excited.

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(Rachel with pork caul fat)

Bear in mind that I had just eaten less than an hour before and though the food was firmly lodged in my stomach, I truly was a greedy gourmand today.

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By the way, you may have noticed that I haven’t spoken recently of my two children, Brienne the cheese and Alfred the sourdough starter.

Brienne’s doing well and chilling in the dairy and Alfred, well, let’s just say Sophie and I had to resurrect him from the dead today with the help of Tim. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll see him in a loaf of bread…

Tomorrow is lecture day, and though Wine Wednesdays has been moved to Thirsty Thursday, I’m looking forward to learning all about seaside foraging, hot and cold smoking and brunch!

Some random things I learned today:

  • If your fudge sauce starts to get a bit too thick, instead of watering it down with water, use cream instead – it’ll loosen the sauce and add plenty of flavour.
  • If you’re making lots of burgers but don’t want to use them straight away, tray freeze them first. Put parchment paper onto a try and place your burgers on top then freeze. After they’re frozen take them out and slide off the tray and you can store them in batches – this way they don’t stick together.
  • Frying pans are not just for frying! A decent pan can work really well when you’re making something like an upside down cake. Make sure to line it and that you’ve room in your oven and you’re sorted.
  • Seek out a butcher that will sell/give you pork caul, it’s great for wrapping around homemade burgers and making sure that the bits don’t fall off around it.
  • When buying mince for making burgers, make sure that it’s not too lean because you’ll end up with a dry burger. Check it for paler pink bits and white flecks.
  • Lamb burgers will fall apart more easily if you don’t add egg and breadcrumbs to help bind them.
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