This week was game week in college for us as we got our hands on some of our furred and feathered friends , this was a really exciting class as we got to prep and cook the game in many different ways including the use of the new sous vide baths in the kitchen , As you all know this is the time of the year for game meat and it truly is a delicacy this time of the year as the weather gets colder the taste of a homemade rabbit stew or a pan fryed haunch of venison banishes away the winter blues and cold chills . My opinion on the eating of game meat is that people either love it or hate it and I truly love my food and game is no different to any other type of meat or poultry . Although their is a short season for game it is vital that you source your meat from registered suppliers that have the knowledge and experience of game meats as it can often be a tasteless experience if you receive a game bird that is riddled with pellets . the amount of people that I have seen not to eat game because of it being a wild bird these people don’t know the true meaning of food and its heritage in the world today. without meat and poultry we would not be provided with eggs and milk ,cheese ,leather and wool for our clothing , also the possibility of living in a field walking around naked living off a diet of grass and water would not be a pretty sight for any ones eyes . one question I’d like to put forward is why would those people go into a fast food outlet and eat a burger or chicken nuggets of some sort when its all processed food and riddled with additives and preserves that give it that taste that you would receive off a piece of cardboard if you chewed it and turn their noses up at a fresh piece of wild pheasant or venison that has lived freely and is free from any additives or preservitives that drive heart rates soaring high and cholesterol to a whole new level . these people are loosing out on what is good for them. this is the way I look at the matter on hand .As it was said by the great Marco Pierre White ” the best way to celebrate an animals life is by eating it ” .
this week we were back to college after a week off which they call a break but for any one in the culinary industry also studying this just means you are rosstered for a full weeks work ,”break what break ?” .our start back to college was a break for some of us , a break from the hussle and bussle of a busy kitchen and long shifts. On Monday our larder lecture set about showing us the processes used in cooking sous vide ,little did we know it was an eventful class as it was his first time using the new sous vide water baths in the college so a learning experience for us all .this class also gave us a chance to plate up our salmon gravadlax that we had prepared the previous week along with the sorbets we also had prepared to accompany the salmon .
moving on to Tuesday this is by far one of my favourite days of the week as we have pastry class and this only means one thing ,dessert for after dinner tonight is taking care of.This week we were doing gateauxs and this was a class to savour layers apon layers of different gateau fillings were being prepared and the aroma of fresh sponge filled the kitchen with that home cooked felling that you would get from your grandmothers kitchen after she had baked her annual batch of Christmas puddings ,that scent that hits the back of your mouth when you walk in the door ,we all know what I’m talking about .Then the creamy mixes of different fillings that would be sandwiched between the sponge was a sight to be savoured ranging from citrus fruit pastry creams to lavish chocolate mousse and raspberry cliouis that would make any person gain weight at the sight of them no to mention tasting them , the gateau that I was preparing was a Almond Daquise, raspberry pastry cream and chocolate mousse gateau topped with pink lavender flavoured icing ,yes that is a mouth full in itself and it truly was a culinary delight .
While on our midterm break from college I got a golden opportunity to start work at 1826 Adare a restaurant owned by chef Wade murphy and his wife Elaine , this is a great stepping stone for me in my career as I get the chance to learn forom one of ther best chefs in Ireland as I develop my skills ,my first day started off as a trail run to see how I would get on and it truly was a trail , as service starts the atmosphere in the kitchen does not change , unlike the pace of which we work at .as orders startto appear at the pass we get into gear and provide a fantastic meal experience . the menu is a 555 a la carte menu ,that meets the need of everyone . Wade with many years experience behind him (culinary genious as described by food critic tom Doorley ) having worked in some of the top establishments in the world aswell as with some of the top chefs in the world provides a great platform to start from . during my first service he guided me through each dish as it was platted and then he left me to work on the starter section on my own surveying everything at the pass . this in my opinion gave me the chance to showcase my skills and set a standard for myself that I am to achieve and surpass every time I step into the kitchen as I develop and strive to achieve higher standards every day under his watchful eye. The so called trail has now developed into a job and a place in the kitchen of the thatched cottage of 1826 . here I truly believe that I can build on my culinary knowledge and skills as I soak up as much as I can from the mind of one of the best in the business as we produce what he likes to call ”classical with a contempary touch cusine ”
on the 24th of October we took a class trip to the lovely scenic area of west Clare .A bleak and cold day but a worth while experience ,our first stop was at Quilty wild irish sea veg , this is a seaveg company set up to provide fresh organic sea veg to customers in all parts of the world .from here we moved onto the world famous Burren smokehouse this was a real treat as we got to sample some of their produce and got an insight into the production and history behind such a famous brand that is used worldwide by some of the top chefs, the video tour of the production line really gave us an insight into what goes on when trying to develop a product or a service .we were told that the salmon is know being shipped to America and Asia to customers who make their orders on line .from here we made the short walk down the road to the roadside tavern which is also owned by the same people as the smokehouse ,here they have their very own micro brewery which was a truly delightful experience when we got to sample some of the produce that they had to offer .in my opinion the homebrewed red ale had the taste of more please off it which I would have done if we hadn’t to be in greaghen’s castle for a spot of lunch , as we entered the drawing room as it was called the heat off the open log fire immediately took away any of the winter wet chill that we had being feeling all day ,the lunch of soup and sandwiches as they called it was much more than your everyday soup and ham sandwich it was truly mouth watering , a spiced onion and thyme soup accompanied with a selection of open sandwiches that were all different ranging from crab on brown soda to chirizo on spelt bread this on its own was worth the trip ,all back on the bus we headed for kilfenora organic pig farm ,this was the highlight of the for me as I am a lover of fresh organic pork as there is so much that can be done with it and the tastes and flavours that could maker me talk all day about pork dishes. the way in which the pigs are reared is very good as they have the freedom to roam free on the land and enjoy the short lifespan they have as they are culled at 6 months . as we left the pig farm and got on the road home this gave me time to reflect on the trip and It came to mind that this was a real valuable experience to have as it gave me more of an understanding in the way our country and its people have developed and produced these organic produces that are sold worldwide and how they have used our landscape to produce this is truly wonderful .it goes without saying Ireland truly is an emerald isle.