Saturday, 17 September 2011

Dillisk Bread - taste of the sea!

Having spent last week on the Irish coast we were lucky enough to be taken seaweed foraging with Bruce Macdonald who has been foraging coastlines for some 10 years. I had always been curious about cooking with seaweed and in particular what type you would use in bread.
The salty fresh Irish air was still warm but the sea was rough as the waves curled and lapped against the rocks. We were at a tiny fishing port, the tide was out and the rock pools were covered in seaweed and moss, which made for a slippery, craggy forage. Davy & I clambered the rocks and rock pools collecting Dillisk (deep aubergine colour) and other types of seaweed that we could cook with.
Top tips for seaweed foraging:
1)      Never turn your back on the tide!
2)      Follow sustainable foraging by ensuring you leave the root intact so it can grow back.
3)      Look out for signs of sewerage, industrial areas – you don’t want to be collecting seaweed in these parts as the seaweed is likely to be polluted.
4)      If you are unsure, check with the local water authority.
5)      Consider where you are foraging, some areas are National Park Territory so you would need permission.
6)      Some seaweed just tastes nasty or incredibly bland so identify the types and try them out – you may need to be a little more creative in the kitchen with some varieties.
7)      Consider all the other types of marine & plant life that relies on the seaweed for food.
8)      Seaweed can be incredibly nutritious as it has the ability to absorb all the nutrients surrounding it, however it can also absorb pollutants too!
9) Only collect seaweed that is vibrant & healthy ie. attached to the rocks. Rinse your seaweed well before cooking.
Recipe for Dillisk Bread - With thanks to Bruce Macdonald & the Irish costal team
This is primarily savoury bread but it has an element of sweetness that makes it acceptable also as tea bread. The use of dillisk (or ‘dulse’) gives an unusual and definite taste of the sea.
25g dried Dillisk, soaked for 5 minutes
110g melted butter
1 large carrot grated
4 eggs
50g caster sugar
250g plain flour
Pinch of salt
1.5 tsp of baking powder
1)      Pat Dillisk dry & chop finely
2)      Prepare greased baking tins (I used two small but this recipe will yield approx 600g loaf)
3)      Combine butter, eggs, sugar, Dillisk, carrot & salt
4)      Fold in sieved flour & baking powder
5)      Fill the tin with the mixture & bake for 40-50 mins on 140
6)      Cool before turning out & slicing

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 !