Ballymaloe Day 45: Sweet dreams are made of sourdough…

Alfred churned around the bowl, licking up the sides and claiming the dough hook with gloopy glee. He was ready!

As our usual theory day commenced, myself and Sophie fed our sourdough starter and plonked him down in between the rows of seats.

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Today Darina was prepping a Thanksgiving feast and assisted by Tracie and Emer, we were treated to a banquet of sorts with turkey, squash and other curious dishes demoed in front of us.

On Wednesdays, whatever is demoed at the start of the day is ours for eating during our lunch hour, and I was excited to taste so many new things (though I was skeptical of the marshmallows covering sweet potato and squash).

Since the tides were perfect, we got the opportunity the head out to the beach and forage for seaweed, periwinkles, mussels and other goodies on the shore.

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(Maddie, me and Sophie at the beach)

Kitted out in our wellies, we sauntered across the sand and I was in my element.

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(Dillisk!)

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I absolutely LOVE the beach, and foraging is one of the things I love learning about, so you can imagine how happy I was splashing through rockpools.

“You need a wooly vest – very sexy garment!” Darina mused of the impending cold spell and how right she was – it was quite chilly!

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(The whole lot of us, photo courtesy of Patricia Lydon)

Refreshed from the sea air, we headed into the dining room for a banquet like no other.

Suitably stuffed, afternoon demo was filled with brunch ideas and Alfred, now living his second life and enthusiastically bubbling up, was ready to see life outside of the sourdough jar.

After demo Sophie and I headed into the kitchen for some quality time with our bundle of joy and watching him grow from a humble starter to a happy dough, caused my heart to soar with pride.

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Hopefully he’ll soon make the natural transition into a manly bread!

So here I am now, sipping on my glass of Réserve Chardonnay (swit swoo), and thinking about tomorrow’s cooking where I’ll be making burgers.

Some random things I learned today:

  • Suet surrounds animal kidneys but needs to be rendered or processed down really before you use it.
  • For rendering suet, place it into an oven at about 50 – 100 degrees Celsius. Basically rendering turns things into liquid fat.
  • According to Darina, anything with almonds or nuts in it tends to keep a bit longer.
  • Cooking turkeys? They take 15 minutes to the pound in a moderate oven but if it’s a bigger turkey you need to reduce the heat to about 150 degrees Celsius.
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