student road trip

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ah yes the title is not what it seems to be but this is a culinary students road trip to a few different suppliers and a bit to eat in a five star hotel , yes that is what I call a road trip and it was a wonderful experience to say the least ,

on a cold and wet Thursday we left limerick and headed south to the rebel county and the home of the english market which is cork city for who ever doesn’t know where we are heading . as we arrived at the market we were met with the different smells and sounds that would greet you as if it was an outdoor market ,just as well it was indoors or else we would be very wet ,first stop was o connell’s fish stall this in my opinion is the crème de la crème of fish stalls around its no wonder the queen of England came to visit it on her trip to Ireland, the choice of fish that is on offer is top class ranging from  fresh whole monkfish to cooked and smoked spart’s this was a real treat for someone who is a fish lover and it really was an eye opener to somebody that didn’t know a whole lot about fish ,from here with empty stomachs we headed to hayfield manor house which is a five star hotel situated in the heart of cork city but still gives you that country style feel , here we  wined and dined on a fabulous 3 course meal that also included petit fours at the end it was a well worth experience and on the colleges behave money well spent .after we were fuelled up and ready for more travelling we headed towards Kanturk to visit Ardrahan cheese makers who were very nice to give us a guided tour of their production line even though they don’t normally take tours we were an exception . it was back into kanturk town for our last stop to jack mac Carthys award winning butchers here we sampled some of the finest meats and puddings that were on offer and shown how they have won so many wards for their  black puddings including a world championship winning black pudding ,they produce up to 16 different types of pudding who knew that you could produce so many well these boys are the experts when it comes to doing it ,all their hard work has paid off with receiving a knighthood from the French pudding society for their produce and also producing a black pudding for the queen’s state banquet on her visit ,all in all it was a great day out that I would do again at the drop of a hat.

apples, alcohol and and five a day

Imagewell today was a day for our own input into the desserts we were making so I decided to put a twist on the classic  jelly and ice cream .so with  an idea in mind and some ingredients in front of me I went to work and came up with a very appetising desserts that would also give you that after dinner liquor that goes down so well after a heavy meal .so I decided on a apple ice cream with and apple sourz jelly I know it sounds a bit full of apple but I sure as hell didn’t feel like it the taste of apple sourz in jelly form took me back to my teenage day of jelly shots which mite of hand a small influence on the matter at hand . I used a simple ice cream base mix but in corporated candied apple pieces and also some fresh apple juice that gave it a lovely fresh taste. also to accompany the dessert was some apple wafer crisps that I prepared out of fresh granny smith apples and some small fresh beetroot juice jellybeans  I know sounds weird but gives and exceptional flavour to the dessert. in my opinion I would include this as two of my five a day but I don’t think doctors would be too happy but an apple a day will keep them away so its a win win situation .

chocolate , chocolate and more chocolate

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well its good to be back again blogging after a period of indulgence over the Christmas period it was straight back into action in the kitchen both larder and pastry were at full flight over the past number of weeks ,my reason for not blogging in a while ,but I am back and be prepared for some tasty treats and savoury snacks as I show you what has been going on over the past few weeks on both sides of the kitchen. first off is pastry ,well I should call this chocolate class as chocolate sculptures were on the menu and chocolate tempering ,”warning to every body if you are doing one of these class’s either sculpture or tempering do not wear a white apron ” I am still cleaning mine 2 weeks later ,lesson learnt in my case .but anyway enough of me rambling on here is what I produced for my first ever sculpture/ centrepiece

the day started off with us weighting up our different chocolate types be it milk, white or dark chocolate . all chocolate that is used needs to be tempered ,in case you don’t know what this is the melting of the chocolate to a certain tempreture  and cooling to a lower one in oreder to get the right consistency for the chocolate to set and shine .

I was using both milk, white and dark chocolate on my sculpture so I had a lot of tempering to do .when the chocolate is tempered you have to work quickly in oreder to fill the moulds and get the chocolate to set .the sculpture consisted of many different shapes including a gold coloured chocolate egg .here some pictures of the different stages in the process