Sunday, June 26, 2011

Review of Summer Tapas Course, Dublin Cookery School

Summer Tapas Course June 20th 2011

Well, this was my first cookery course and I have to say I didn’t know what to expect before I went in. I wondered was it going to be a gang of Tom Doorley’s all commenting on the food and ways to improve it. 

Thankfully they were all normal people who love food- FOODIES!

I chose to do the Summer Tapas course partly because its summer time, partly because I love Spanish food. When I arrived at the purpose built cookery school in Blackrock, I was presented with a glass of homemade lemonade (Mint, Mi Wadi Lime Cordial, Sparkling Water, Lemon and Limes= WOW) and a folder detailing what we would be learning on the night.

John our demonstration chef outlined what we were going to be cooking on the night.

The Menu:
  • Black Pudding Cigars
  • Tiger Prawns Piri Piri
  • Croquetas De Bacalao (Salted Cod Fishcakes)
  • Champignones Con Jerez Y Perejil (Mushrooms & Sherry and Parsley)
  • Patatas Bravas
  • Mini Potato Tortillas with Chorizo
  • Aoili (Homemade Garlic Mayo)
  • Escabece De Pimiento Y Caballa (Red & Yellow Pepper Escabeche with Mackerel)
  • Calamares Con Aoili De Chorizo (Calamari with Chorizo Mayo)

Where do I start…..

Okay first up was Salted Cod Fish Cakes, which were really good and exceptionally well seasoned.

Tips I learned-
  1. Salt the cod for 24 hours in advance- makes it firmer and improves taste.
  2. Use more fish that potatoes- it’s called a fish cake for a reason!
  3. When heating cod in pot with milk, only bring to the boil then turn off heat
  4. How to wrap the mixture in Clingfilm, then let it set then chop to length

Aioli (Garlic Mayo)
Very good when served with the fishcakes above

Tips I learned-

  1. Add in flavorless oil (veg, sunflower) slowly to the food mixer
  2. Keep garlic crushed in oil, lets flavour out, can be stored in fridge
  3. You can make lots of different mayo’s using different flavour oils
  4. Roast the garlic first if you want a sweeter, nuttier mayo

Tortillas with Chorizo
These were exceptional, with a delicious Smokey chorizo. Quite a substantial dish that stays with you. YUM.

Tips I learned-
  1. Use cooked new potatoes- saves time
  2. Quick meal that tastes fantastic
  3. Let it set!

Deep Fried Calamari
Cooked perfectly, breadcrumbs were light and crispy, squid had just right amount of crunch!

Tips I learned-

  1. Ask fish monger for baby squid- tastes better
  2. Slice thinly
  3. Minimise excess egg, flour and breadcrumbs
  4. Use Japanese flaky breadcrumbs if possible.
  5. Squid should either be cooked on high heat for a short time or lower hear for a long time.- tough to break it down.

Patatas Bravas
Tips I learned-

  1. The passata sauce is basically the tomato sauce used for pizzas
  2. Use smoked paprika, adds depth to the sauce

Mackerel with sweet and sour peppers

This was an incredible dish with sharp fresh flavours that really cut through the richness of the fried mackerel.

Tips I learned-
  1. Cook Mackerel skin down for about 90% of total cook time c.3 mins
  2. Score the skin side of the mackerel, helps cook faster
  3. Ask fish monger for butterfly filleted mackerel
  4. Cut a V in the fillet (think lumberjack) to remove the bones- save time!
  5. Peel the peppers first with potato peeler
  6. Don’t cook the peppers all that much, need the crunch
  7. Garnish with extra virgin olive oil- now can be preserved in fridge

Black Pudding Cigars
Hadn’t seen this before, imagine- Clonakilty black pudding a few herbs wrapped in spring roll pastry and deep fried.

Tips I learned-
  1. Use other regional pudding- Clonakilty has changed a lot
  2. Heat pudding in oven first to make it more supple/workable.
  3. Don’t allow any air pockets in the pastry-tight packet= good packet
  4. Deep fry for 1 min

The great thing about the courses are that you get to taste all of the Tapas as they cook it! This and a regularly refreshed wine glass made it an incredibly enjoyable night!

I would also note that we were given folders (to keep) of all the receipes/ingredients of all the Tapas to cook!- Great Touch

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