Tuesday, 1 May 2012

BACK TO THE BIG SMOKE

Hello again - I'm back!

The weeks have absolutely flown by and I can't believe the next 12 week certificate course started today at Ballymaloe Cookery School. Where does the time go?!
I still feel like I'm only settling back home and getting used to life in the city again. I do miss the quiet and relaxed countryside feel at Ballymaloe.

My last week in Ballymaloe was a total whirlwind. My exams went really well so I was delighted. For our last night, the school threw us a huge party, with a three course meal, drinks and music. It was a really great send off.
It took us all quite a while the following morning to surface and pack the cars with the mountains of things we had accumulated over the three months. I eventually made it back to Dublin in one piece!

CHOCOLATE CUPS WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE AND CHOCOLATE TWIRLS

CHOCOLATE CUPS WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE AND CHOCOLATE TWIRLS
The next part of my journey - Avoca
I've been extremely lucky to have landed a job working as a pastry chef for Avoca. I started literally straight after I finished the course, so I had no time for Ballymaloe blues. I was determined during the course to apply for jobs, and that definitely paid off.

Working for Avoca is going really well and I am delighted to have dived straight into getting good experience under my belt. My position is currently in the Avoca central kitchen in Kilmacanaque where we produce all the cakes and pastries for all the Avoca restaurants. I'm then moving to the new Avoca which will open in Malahide Castle this coming September. I'm really looking forward to moving closer to home and working in the beautiful surroundings of the castle.

PEAR AND STRAWBERRY FRANGIPAN TARTS

FLAKE AND MINI EGG CUPCAKES

STRAWBERRY FRANGIPAN TART

CUTE CUPCAKES

DOUBLE CHOC CHEESECAKE

PROPOSAL CAKE
Other than work, I have been busy enjoying cooking every evening. I love to come home from work and watch some of Heston Blumenthal on tv and read through my collection of cookbooks to get inspiration. I now have to make sure I give some dedicated to blogging and writing about what I've been cooking.



This recipe is one of my favourite dishes that I have made of late. It is from the amazing Yotam Ottolenghi's cookbook.
This is a really delicious starter and would also make really good party food with bite sized fritters and dip. If you havn't tried any of Ottolenghi's delicious food, you must take a trip to London to eat in his newest restaurant NOPI, in Soho.  I'm very lucky to have eaten there last summer and it was one of the best meals I have ever had.

Ottolenghi's Cauliflower Fritters with Lime Yoghurt


Serves: 4
Ingredients:
1 small cauliflower (about 320g)
120g plain flour
3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 free-range eggs
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
500ml sunflower oil frying

Lime Sauce
300g greek style yoghurt
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
grated zest of a lime
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Put all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Chill or leave out for up to an hour.
2. Prepare the cauliflower by trimming off excess leaves. Using a small knife, divide the cauliflower into little florets. Add them to a large pot of boiling salted water and cook until tender. Approximately 15 minutes.
3. While the cauliflower is cooking put the flour, chopped parsley, shallots, eggs, spices, salt and pepper into a bowl and whisk together to make a batter. When the mixture is smooth, add the warm cauliflower. Mix to break down the cauliflower into the batter.
4. Pour the sunflower oil into a wide pan to a depth of 1.5cm and heat until very hot. Carefully spoon in generous portions of the cauliflower mix, approximately 3 tbsp per fritter. Take care with the hot oil and make sure to not overcrowd the pan, leaving space between the fritters. They should take 3-4minutes on each side.
5. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain well on kitchen paper. Serve with the sauce on the side and a sprinkling of fresh coriander on top.


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