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Tapas and Tests

So much to fill you in on, it’s hard to know where to begin. This week was abnormal in so many ways. Monday was a bank holiday, and Darina and Rory away for the weekend in Turin, Italy for Slow Food’s Terra Madre. Hysteria reined as Ballymaloe students studied and worried about this week’s mid-term exams, which included a technique exam and a written identification exam covering salad leaves and herbs.

But let’s, for the moment, put all that aside. I’d rather just tell you what we ate and cooked exam week. Ready?

We had an AMAZING tapas demo, with Darina and Rory both — and with Colm, our wine teacher. Colm gave us sherries to sample and Darina and Rory whipped up so many little treats. Tapas have a lot of my favorite ingredients — seafood, olives, cured meats, cheese. Here’s some manchego with membrillo (which here they call quince paste).

Here’s some fresh quince, just in case you haven’t seen it before:

Darina (slicing up serrano ham) and Rory, tag-teaming tapas demo:

Marcona almonds, marinated black olives, and bonito with anchovies (little bread loaves with tuna and one anchovy on top):

And… membrillo (the previously mentioned quince paste), pulpo a la gallega (octopus salad!), brandade de morue with piquillo peppers (piquillo peppers stuffed with salt cod). As Rory mentioned, the salty, slightly sweet flavor of the cod goes well with the sweet, slightly smoky piquillo pepper. Also, some cubes of tortilla de patatas (what you would expect — eggs, potato, onion, olive oil, crushed garlic).

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