Monday, 8 April 2013

Slow Food Galway Visit to Moyglass Bakery April 7th 2013

Paul getting ready for bread making
Slow Food Galway members and friends visited Paul Illien’s Moyglass Bakery on Sunday 7th April to watch Paul prepare his classic sourdough bread using organic flour, water and a “starter” handed down to him from his parents who also sold their products in Galway’s Saturday Market. While most Irish people of a certain generation have warm memories of the homely smell of freshly baked white or brown soda bread wrapped in a clean dish cloth to prevent the crust over-hardening, the different smell of sourdough has become familiar to us thanks to people like Paul and his family. Paul also had a variety of muffins and delicious cakes on display.

Paul’s new pizza oven
After Paul gave his bread demonstration the members and guests partook of their lunch of creamy leek and potato soup prepared using Cáit Curran’s organic produce, Paul’s hearty venison stew using locally culled deer –Paul described it as having no-food miles – and Cobie’s delicious vegetable curry for the vegetarians of the group which were served with rice, breads and salads.. With the biting east wind penetrating all corners of Moyglass, these hot dishes were enjoyed by all.

Marion Roeleveld spreading the news of yoghurt

Following our repast, Marion Roeleveld of Killeen Cheese, whose list of awards from Irish and British Cheese authorities is a credit to her spoke to us briefly about the state of her cheese production at the moment. However, she chose to explain to us the intricacies of preparing yoghurt using different starters. If all of us picked up one nugget of information on all of these outings, we would be the richer for it. For me Marion’s comment on smelling the yoghurt for readiness was a gem. If it smells like milk, it is not ready yet. It should smell sour! Having spent four years in Tanzania where the Indian people and their food culture had a strong influence, one of the daily post lunch chores was to warm a litre or so of milk either on the charcoal remnants or the gas cooker, add the starter (half a cup of yesterday’s yogurt) , stir and cover with a cloth. The ambient temperature would ensure sufficient dahi (yoghurt) for the morning lassi and the lunch raita. But back to Moyglass! While Marion was speaking, Cobie and Paul were busily preparing pizzas on Paul’s newly acquired pizza oven. The simplicity of Paul’s thin, crispy dough transformed with passata and mozzarella converted this pizza so-soer into a definite fan. Michelle’s pizza with passata, cheese and cooked potato was a hit with the children
Delicious desserts such as blood oranges with caramel sauce, brownies, rhubarb tart and moist carrot cake provided the wrap up to a very interesting afternoon down in East Galway with charming hosts, good food and thanks to Cobie for organising this outing. These events don’t just happen – someone has done the backroom work.

Cáit, Mairéad, Mary and Máirín warming up

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