Monday, November 2, 2009


Cucumber Mousse with Shrimp and Tomato Salsa

There is no such thing as a case of the Mondays when you are doing what you love! I hopped out of bed this morning anxious to get back to school. On the list of
things to make this morning: a meat pie. Say what you will about Ireland and their meat pies, but it was delicious! Fresh leg of lamb carved and diced, carrots and onions from the farm, homemade lamb stock, and homemade pastry. Good ingredients, good pie! One important point: season your stew with each additional step, so the layered flavors come to life. I took a picture before it went into the oven...

I also made creamed kale and put together a Plateau de fruits de mer with my partner. This involved opening oysters, cooking some mussels, and stealing some homemade mayonnaise from another section so we didn't have to whisk up our own (my arms were sore enough from opening the oysters)! In this country, they often serve mayonnaise with their shellfish. Personally, I would ditch the mayo and serve it plain with lemon slices (and maybe with a bit of cocktail sauce). Oysters, of course, are best plain in all their briny glory.

After lunch, Rory took the helm for the afternoon demonstration. We made cold cucumber soup, cucumber mousse, a curried vegetable stew with banana and yogurt raita, PARMESAN RISOTTO!, Indian paratha bread, grapefruit and pomegranate sorbet, a Tuscan plum tart, and an apple cake. The cucumber mousse is a great way to use up cucumber soup - just add gelatin! I presume one could do this with a lot of soups. For the Risotto, the trick is to add the liquid slowly to the rice and try to maintain a constant, steady simmer. The constant temperature assures that your risotto will cook evenly. It requires some close attention, but the result is so delicious.

Grapefruit and Pomegranate Sorbet

Today's Tips:

- Be careful when grating anything with a box grater. Don't try to be a hero and grate down to the last molecule of cheese or whatever- the graters are deceptively sharp!

- Cold soup should be served in small portions

- Yogurt is one of the most difficult things to season. The acidity confuses the tongue, so be aware!

- When making caramel, the water/sugar mixture almost never turns color evenly because of the slightly uneven heat below. Since you're not supposed to stir caramel while it boils, just pick up the pan, tilt it to even the color, and rotate it on the burner.

- When making sorbet, the ratio of sugar to liquid is important. Follow the recipe religiously, or it might not set properly.

- Pomegranates will keep unopened in the fridge for 4-6 weeks.

- There is no easy way to peel and remove seeds from grapes ("You know that's just torture. That's just the way it is" - Rory).

- Rosewater and Pomegranate make an excellent combination

- When turning anything out from a pan (a tart, a fritata), don't dither, as they say over here. Get up your nerves and just do it.

- If you over-roast some spices, cut your loses and start again. No one wants the taste of burnt cumin in their curry!

- You can freeze meat/poultry bones if you don't want to drop everything and make a stock then and there.

- Plums go well with cinnamon or star anise

1 comment:

  1. By the way, your number titles have impressive variety. Deal? OR NO DEAL? xx