Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Evolution of My Chef Factor 2011 Entry

Please vote for me and get your friends and family to vote me for by clicking on the link below and 'like' Serena's Scallops & Spicy Dhal with Mint Yogurt Dressing

So, what's the story....

I probably haven't much of a chance, but shur as they say, if you're not in you can't win!!!! Cully & Sully are running the Chef Factor competition again this year, with the prize being a 3 month cookery course in Ballymaloe Cookery School worth €12,000. So I've been getting myself organised for entry. Basically to enter you need to submit and photo which includes a dish, you, and the words Cully & Sully. Also you must say why you should win and also discuss your dish you are entering. They will be employing the Facebook 'Like' button, for voting, which makes it a little bit of a popularity test. However they will be selecting 2 wild cards as well for the final down in Ballymaloe with Cully & Sully and Darina & Rachel Allen. So everyone has chance.

Anyways I flupped up a bit, I thought the wanted 500 words for why you deserve to win, and 500 words to explain the dish. When submitting the entry, I saw that was 500 CHARACTERS!!! Duh Serena!!!! Back to the drawing board for revising.

My concept to do something different with the photo was intially STEAMY. I was going to Write Cully & Sully into a steamed window and serve Steamed Thai Dumplings. Cool, right?! Wrong!! The disaster was two-fold. Firstly dumpling were a complete disintegrating disaster, followed by the steamy window not looking so hot either.

Decided to scrap the steamy concept and start again. My concept I went for in the finish was 'Exotic Spices Transport Us'. I made scallops with dhal from a previous post and served it with a cool and refreshing minty yogurt dressing. (
The concept was that the spices transport your taste buds to an exotic lands....I hope that the picture conveys this. Check it out your self below.

Any help with the votes would be greatly appreciated and if you're not already supporting anyone I would be completely grateful if you throw your support to me, and tell all your friends and family to support me. Simply click on the link below and 'like' Serena's Scallops & Spicy Dhal with Mint Yougurt Dresssing.

Thanks Guys.......

PS: Below is the full length version of why I think I deserve to win, along with a description of my dish.


Why I Deserve to Win...

I’ve always loved food and cooking. I suppose my earliest cooking memory, is pretending to be Darina Allen at night time when myself, my brother and sister used have a cereal before bedtime. I remember laying all my ingredients (cereal, milk & sugar) out on the kitchen table and demonstrating to the ‘pretend camera’ in front of me and my audience of two, how to make Crushed Cornflake Cakes and other tasty treats, trying my best to mimic Darina from Simply Delicious. Gone are the days where I play make-believe, but my love for cooking has grown with me throughout the years, and over the last few years it really has gotten to a stage where I would love to make a career out of my passion. If I’m not cooking or talking about cooking, then I’m writing about food, and creating recipes in my food blog. I realised myself things have got to a serious stage when I started to bring cookery books to bed with me at night, much to my new husband’s annoyance.
 As a birthday gift a few months back I attended the Sushi afternoon demonstration in Ballymaloe Cookery School. Not only did I find that course incredible and came away with a new skill; but I wished with all my might that I could be one of those full time cookery students in the school. I do believe I am a good home cook. I am self taught, however there are certain areas where I’m a total novice, and there are so many skills, techniques and cuisines that I’m eager to learn. Winning Cully & Sully’s Chef Factor 2011, and having the opportunity to attend the Ballymaloe Cookery Course would be the next step I need in developing my cooking skills and then perhaps having the opportunity to embark on a really exciting career in the food business.

Serena’s Scallops & Spicy Dhal with a Minty Yogurt Dressing

I really believe in using the freshest of Irish produce in my cooking, but every once in a while, to make some interesting fusion dishes, it’s great to be transported to a foreign land with exotic spices, and that’s exactly what happens when I cook this dish. I love the fact that certain smells and flavours can instantly evoke memories of places travelled or special meals eaten with friends and family.
I came up with this recipe when I was trying to think of something different to accompany scallops to what I I’d normally cook them with, so I thought why not try something Indian?! The dhal is  flavoured primarily with turmeric and cayenne pepper, so be warned it certainly packs a punch . To balance the heat from the spicy dhal, I’ve created a cool minty yogurt dressing as an accompaniment.
 Now for the stars of the show, the scallops! I like to remove the roe from scallops, but it’s a personal thing really. The key I believe, to cooking perfect scallops, is to wash and dry them well, have a really hot pan, massage them with some oil and seasoning, and pan fry for 90 seconds a side.
Et voila!Close your eyes, and allow your taste buds transport you to exotic lands

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