Day 43 – Roasted Field Mice 

This morning we had a demo on canapés and finger food. Rory and Darina shared ideas for catering and entertaining. It’s very funny to watch the brother sister duo working together. The ability to pull off a pair of statement specs clearly runs in the family. DSCF7589.JPG

Tip of the trade : keep presentation trays busy so they don’t look sparse as people eat. Rory reminded me of Rowan Atkinson in Love Actually gift wrapping the necklace as he adorned his creations.


To make a point about interesting presentation plates he placed his rosemary lamb skewers on an 18th century dish that was used for roasted field mice, and placed boiled quail eggs in a nest.


In the afternoon Irish Times wine critic John Wilson came and sampled eight Spanish wines with us. John says the division between old and new world wines does the old world a disservice. We view it as conservative and unchanging when really there’s a lot of innovation – particularly in Spain. EU membership has done wonders for its wine because the funding has given people access to more advanced equipment and education.

I spent three years  in Spain after I finished university.  There’s a lot I love about that country but one thing that never grew on me was the food. My personal opinion is that they make great essential products – olive oil, manchego cheese, jamón iberico – but the way they put it together is bland and stodgy. Many people are conservative and reluctant to eat new things. So it was good for me to hear that in terms of wine they are pushing boundaries. Makes me slightly reconsider my position. Slightly. 


I learned: Stilton cheese was never made in the town of Stilton. It was made by a farmer’s wife in Melton Mowbray but made popular by a landlord who served it in Stilton.

Food of the day: Wicklow blue cheese. Finally a blue cheese I enjoy! This is like a softy moulded brie. A good gateway blue for people like me who find it too strong.

Line of the day : From Rory. “A lot of canapés are all frills and knickers and no action.” Not when he makes them.

Desserts at lunch today, including tiramisu and walnut cake with American frosting.