Monday, 12 September 2011

A Warm Welcome from Waterford

I am exhausted. I have just returned from an AMAZING GRAZING visit to Ireland where they have been holding fantastic foodie events with expert presenters all week in celebration of the 2011 Waterford Harvest Festival.
From the moment we were welcomed at the tiny airport in Waterford by Donal Lehane and throughout our trip we were overwhelmed by the hospitality and kindness everyone gave us. A big thank you to all those people – you know who you are!

Davy and his magnifcent cheeses

Lisa curing meats

bread making demo

lots of prepping prior to demonstration

David's legendary signature loaf - The Tsoureki

We held artisan workshops in Butchery, Charcuterie, Cheese tasting & Bread baking to chefs, students and the general public in the WIT university demonstration theatre.

During our visit we foraged for seaweed, visited a venison farm of stunning Japanese sika deer and joined the Saturday night feast for 800 people as we sat in rows of social benches and tucked into local produce whilst listening to an Irish folk band. Our starter was a plate of terrine, chorizo, goats cheese, sweet figs and homemade chutney. For mains we were offered meats from the grill including the most succulent, juicy lamb from a local producer based in Kilmachthomas.
sorting the seaweed types

Japanese sika deer with their beautiful
white-spotted rich chestnut brown coats on the
Harrington family farm in Dunhiill, Waterford
We attended guest lectures in the theatre royal including the Irish fight for sustainable fish and another on growing your own with useful tips given by organic gardener, radio & TV presenter Bob Flowerdew. Memorably he advised everyone to be growing their own fruit as with stale vegetables if your really unlucky you might be at risk of clostridium botulinum but with stale fruit your only risk is getting drunk!

The girls from WIT culinary college - extremely excitable to be
meeting their idol Darina Allen!
We also caught up with Darina Allen founder of the Ballymaloe cookery school in Cork (approximately 50 miles south of Waterford) who was also holding cookery classes at the event in support of Slow Food Ireland and Grow it Yourself. She was really pleased to see us and remembered us from her visit to The School of Artisan earlier in the year when she was interviewed by Matthew Fort during 'an evening with'

Lastly, I promised to share the recipes I made during the demo.
Ingredients (the flour is always 100% and all other ingredients are as a % of the flour):
Pre-ferment (BIGA) recipe:
100% white flour
56% water
1.8% fresh yeast (double the volume for dry)
Final Dough:
100% flour
147% Pre-ferment (Biga )
85% water
3.6% salt
1.8% fresh yeast
1)      Make up your pre-ferment overnight and allow at least 12 hours to ferment at ambient temperature. Store in a plastic tub with olive oil in.
2)      Bring together all your ingredients including the BIGA you made the night before and mix together well.
3)      Bulk ferment in a plastic tub with olive oil for 1.5 hours (folding every 20 minutes)
4)      To fold you need to gently stretch the dough up to elongate the air pockets and fold over itself.
5)      After a further rest of 30 minutes. Tray up and select your toppings.
6)      Gently press your fingers into the dough to indent in order that you can nestle your olives or feta into the dough.
7)      Bake at 230 degrees for around 18-20 minutes.
8)      Drizzle with olive oil when out of the oven.
Thanks to Jim for his excellent
contribution to the demonstrations
100% flour
80% water
2% salt
1% yeast
1)      Make up your dough the night before and leave in a plastic tub in a little olive oil and place in the fridge to chill overnight.
2)      Take out your dough in the morning and allow to get up to room temperature.
3)      Then begin folding. Four folds every 45 minutes.
4)      Cover liberally with flour. Cut out with metal dough scraper and gently place onto tray being careful not to damage the aerated structure you have just developed.
5)      Bake in hot oven at 230 for 15 minutes
Happy baking !

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