September 2010

Roma Pasta and Pizza Flour

Joanna Schaffalitzky — 

Way back at the end of July, Damien Mulley, announced on Twitter that Roma wanted to send out bags of their new Pasta and Pizza Flour to interested food bloggers. Of course I immediately sent off an email to their representative, Adam, who sent me out, not only the flour, but also a bag of penne in a handy tin.

I finally got a chance to try out the new flour just before I went on holidays. I used it to make a loaf of focaccia and a calzone pizza.

This was my first time ever using the Farina Tipo "00" flour, so I was very interested to see how it would differ from the strong flour that I would usually use for bread and pizza. When I first handled the flour in my mixing bowl, it did seem to feel silkier than strong flour, so of course I took out my stong flour and had a touch test. I wasn't imagining things, it did feel softer and a little less grainy.

Once my two sets of doughs had come together, it was time to knead them. This I did for 10 mins each. The resulting dough was a lot springier than that which I had made previously, whether this was down to the flour or just my kneading technique on the day I couldn't say.

The main difference that I noticed overall between this flour and normal strong flour was in the consistency of the cooked focaccia loaf and the crispness of the pizza base.

Despite me undercooking it, the dough for my calzone was still light and fairly crisp. I can only imagine that if I had managed to hold my hunger in check for 5 more mins it would have been even better.

The focaccia was delicious. The crumb was much lighter than that of my normal bread efforts and it was nice and soft to eat.

All in all I would probably try the Roma flour again, possibly this time to make pasta, though first I have to get a pasta machine. If you are interested in trying out the flour yourself, it can be found in Dunnes Stores and Superquinn. They are also hoping that it will be available in Tesco in the not too distant future.

Chef Factor

Joanna Schaffalitzky — 

On Wednesday I was invited to the launch of Cully & Sully's latest project; Chef Factor. This is their amazing competition which could win you a place on the Ballymaloe Cookery School 12 week certificate course, including accommodation and a set of chef's knives.

As part of the launch, we were treated to a cooking demonstration by Ivan Whelan, Cully & Sully's chef who creates most of their dishes. He cooked a delicious meal of lamb t-bones (or loin chops) and saffron, cardamon, and pink peppercorn cous cous, served with white turnips and rainbow chard and a Bernaise sauce. While he cooked Cully tried to write down the recipe to share with us later.

While we were eating, we were shown a couple of videos, that explain how the competition works. You create your signature dish and take a picture of you and it, making sure that the words Cully & Sully are somewhere in the shot. Then you upload it to the Chef Factor website and write a paragraph about why you should win and another paragraph about your signature dish. There will then be a public vote, of which the top 2 entries will go to the final with a third person, hand picked by Cully and Scully.

The 3 finalists will then compete in a cook-off judged by, amoungst others, Darina and Rachel Allen. This video explains it a little better than I can.

I spent the rest of the evening chatting with Cully, Sully, Ivan and the other food bloggers and planning what dish I should cook for the competition.