|Beef, Onion, Mushroom, Beer|
I was keen to do the Understanding Food course which takes place each Monday evening over a 6 week period. After putting my name on the waiting list, I was delighted to finally start the course a couple of months ago. Classes are small and limited to six students so you really have the chance to improve your cookery skills and learn loads from JP.
Each week of the course has its own theme which means that you can really explore each topic in detail trying out a number of recipes and different cooking techniques. Subjects covered include Bread, Beef, Pork, Fish and Poultry with the final week covering Vegetables and Desserts. On our first night we were each given a lovely Aniar apron which we wore with pride for the duration of the course. Detailed notes containing all the evening’s recipes are given to all participants at the beginning of every class. After the 6 weeks we each received a comprehensive booklet containing all the notes and recipes bound together.
|Chicken Skin, Oyster Emulsion|
Pork week was a particular favourite of mine and I loved all the food that we cooked especially the dish using the pig’s head. On that evening, I was tasked with picking the meat from the head out of which we later made little breadcrumbed croquettes which we deep-fried until they were a lovely golden colour with a crispy texture. The croquettes were absolutely delicious and tasted wonderful with the accompanying beetroot purée and thyme gel that we had also made. I also loved the Pork Belly that we cooked and thought that the Pork Loin, Serrano Ham & Apricot dish with its punchy Spanish flavours was heavenly.
|Mackerel, Trout Caviar|
There were so many stand-out dishes over the six weeks that it is hard to single out one as my favourite. If pushed I think that I would have to choose the Egg Yolk and Turnip dish that we made in the final week. Not only was it beautiful to look at it but it really demonstrated how the simplest of ingredients could be elevated to a fine-dining standard. I also loved the Scallop & Artichoke dish that we made during Fish week and I thought that the Beetroot Parfait dessert was one of the most unusual but delicious things that I have ever eaten.
|Cod, Chorizo, Barley|
I gained so much from the Understanding Food course. As a fairly competent home cook I particularly enjoyed the creative aspects of the course and was fascinated at seeing a top chef at work. I was genuinely sad when the course came to an end because I had enjoyed every single minute of it.
Further information on all the cookery courses run in Aniar is available from:
51 Lower Dominick Street
This article first appeared in TheTaste.ie