“We really are tapping into ancient wisdom” – Darina Allen
Five weeks down, one week to our mid-term exams and just seven weeks until my time at Ballymaloe is over.
Week 5 started off in an interesting fashion – I was clumsy, much more so than usual and ended up cutting my finger while cubing butter. Add to that a pie with a soggy bottom, burnt bread and salty colcannon; I couldn’t have gotten off to a better start! I did have my first oyster at lunch though. It was nice and not half as revolting as I expected, despite my facial expression!
The Breakfast Demo on Monday was great. We watched Darina, Rachel and four other teachers make their way through a mountain of recipes. This session allowed for fantastic cooking on Tuesday morning: a cooked breakfast AND I got to eat it! I messed up my scones by making them too thick but my fry turned out well, thankfully.
Despite my poor start, my cooking improved as the week progressed. I had a good morning on Thursday, my dishes came out well but I struggled with presentation. On Friday I was much happier with my presentation, I put more thought into it, considered more of the finer details and it paid off. My Sole Goujons were delicious and my Lemon Tart a success, with not a soggy bottom in sight!
The demonstrations throughout Week 5 were great. I really enjoyed Emer’s Fermentation Demo on Wednesday afternoon. I’ve rarely eaten fermented foods but I enjoyed tasting everything. I found the Kimchi an extraordinary surprise, I normally avoid this dish but wouldn’t hesitate to order it now. Other highlights included Rachel’s Pasta Making, Pam’s Casserole‘s that looked and tasted delicious but the week was stolen by Mary Jo McMillan’s beans. She popped in for a few minutes at the end of Rachel’s demo on Tuesday and served us a Taco with Beans and Salsa. It was one of the tastiest things I’ve ever eaten, I didn’t know beans could be so good!
Week 5 was a week of new experiences for me. Apart from the aforementioned oysters, I also plucked and gutted pheasants for the first time on Tuesday and attended the Lamb Butchery class on Wednesday. I enjoyed the fruits of my labour too, having Pheasant Liver and Heart on Toast on Tuesday evening and Lamb Kidneys on Toast on Wednesday night; I better be careful in case I develop a reputation!
Wednesday evening, I got the chance to have a walk around the farm. It’s a beautiful place with any amount of animals and edible plants dotted around. I love to visit the hens, they are such lovely characters. The piglets are out and about now, hopping all over the place. It gives me great joy to see happy animals; in my opinion, there is no justification to keep animals in misery for all of their lives, the LEAST we owe them is a little happiness.
Quotes of the Week:
“Somebody has to be the best, it may aswell be you” – Darina
“If you’re interested in quality, the first thing you do is ditch the Sliced Pan” – Darina
“Ok so we’re going to pluck this evening, butcher tomorrow and shoot on Sunday. Where would you get it?!” – Pam
“I should just ask you rather than sticking my hand into boiling water” – Rachel, checking if there was any salt in the pasta water
“I haven’t made pasta since we got a new kitten so that’ll be fun” – Rachel
“Bordeaux produces more wine than Australia” – Colm McCann
“Honey is the only food product that doesn’t go off” – Emer
“There must be loads of gorgeous little things rampaging around your gut Emer” – Darina, during Emer’s fermenting demo