Ballymaloe Day 27 – Lust for Knife

There was clearly a Valentine’s Day theme going on here today at Ballymaloe. Every food item that was made was either heart-shaped, garnished with hearts, plated in a heart-shaped dish, or served on a plate with hearts. Considering my annual tradition since my college days to celebrate Valentine’s Day is to watch a suitably unromantic movie (preferably Platoon or any movie with graphic violence)  and/or repeatedly listen to “Sour Times” by Portishead (it’s the song with the lyrics ‘nobody loves me, it’s true.’), I’m usually not so keen about the 14th of February, but I did get a laugh out of the whole over-the-top display they had going on down here. Fellow student John (of cake proposal fame) sent instructor Pam a pretty raunchy Valentine’s Day card during the start of the afternoon demo. I had heard what was written in the card beforehand, and it was quite hilarious. Poor Pam seemed pretty embarrassed and at a loss for words, which I suspect doesn’t happen to her all that often.

Oh yeah…what did I do in the kitchen today? Well, for starters, I filleted not one but two fish – a pollock and a monkfish. It was definitely good practice for the techniques exam, and now I kind of hope that I get filleting a round fish for one of my techniques. My knife skills are certainly better when it comes to fish as opposed to chicken. The monkfish, which are so ugly that they can only be classified as cute, was part of my Caribbean fish curry that I was preparing, and it came out really well. My plating looked a little sloppy in the end, but I blame this on my rice pilaf dome, which ended up looking more like a nebulous oval shape than a dome, but who cares? It tasted great, and after my instructor graded me, I sneakily ate the rest of the tasting plate myself in the kitchen! I will definitely be making that fish curry again. I also had to make melted leeks, and I was so worried about overcooking them that I ended up slightly undercooking them. Figures…but I’ll know for the next time.

Seeing as we got out of demo a little bit early and with the weather being absolutely beautiful, I decided to go for a run to the beach (yeah, even I was impressed with myself). Well, my physical efforts were rewarded because there was an absolutely gorgeous sunset stretching across Shanagarry this evening. The sky was streaked with pink and purple hues (very apropos for the day that was in it) across the horizon, and with a seemingly unending stretch of beach as the setting, it was certainly a stunning view. Later on in the evening, a number of students went to the Blackbird Pub, tempted by promises of “Free Sex…(On the Beach)”….as in the drink, gutterheads. The usual suspects stayed in, drank a few bottles of wine, and ended up watching “Withnail and I”…a suitably unromantic movie. Very fitting indeed!

As a token of my platonic love, here are some pics.

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