This Wednesday was back on form. Biscuits, cheese, food and wine. In that order. Oh did I mention the Champagne?
We had the most epic morning demonstration of vegetarian food. It was insanely good. Don’t get me wrong, the meat (those steaks!) and the fish have been amazing but it was just such a delight to have so many wonderful fresh and new dishes shown to us. Salads, dahls, fritters, burgers, tarts, pilafs and chillis… There was nothing ‘side-dish’ about this food. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it was one of my favourite demonstrations of the course.
We cooked Ballymaloe recipes, but also a selection of recipes from some amazing chefs – Ottolenghi, Madhur Jaffrey, Dennis Cotter, Skye Gyngell… who are not all vegetarians, but all who just get how many amazing things can be created when vegetables, grains etc are in the spotlight.
My favourites included a freekeh pilaf, kale pakoras, a red quinoa tabouleh and an amazing chickpea dish with tamarind in it. I’m having trouble pulling my photos off my phone this evening (yes, I know, I still haven’t properly figured out the cloud) but when it’s sorted I will share some more. Happily I have lots of official vegetarians in my life who I will definitely have to share these recipes with. (There will be no escaping Wilberforce Road)
Wine Wednesday featured two amazing guest speakers and then some not-intended-to-be-overwhelming-but-still-was information on our final wine exam.
Our first speaker was a delightful French lady Catherine Leonard from a Champagne House; Henriot. I liked her immediately when she opened with:
“Champagne is pleasure. We will taste the champagne immediately so we can both enjoy the pleasure of it together”
It was fascinating. We learnt about the cuvee, a fairly untranslatable word that means something like ‘the traits of the style of champagne, produced by the champagne house‘. Unlike ‘terroir’ which describes so much of French wine, cuvee is how Champagnes are described. We learnt some really interesting facts:
- About the Champagne method for adding bubbles to still wine
- The importance of the Reserve is consistency and reputation of a brand’s cuvee
- That Champagnes are always blends of 3 grape types (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier)
- That a sparkling wine made from 100% Chardonnay is called a ‘Blanc des blancs’, even if it’s made in the Champagne appellation d’origine contrôlée
We also talked a lot about how champagne is delicious not just as an aperitif but also to accompany food. Ha, basically the notes I wrote down categorically state that Champagne is for every meal and every course. Well, no complaining here.
Ok, bed time calls. More tomorrow