Ballymaloe Cookery School – Week 8

Ballymaloe Cookery School – Week 8

“Are you fed up of wild garlic yet?…..you will be….” – Emer

After a relaxing weekend exploring Cork with Ali and my Mam, Week 8 began well for me in the kitchen. On Monday I was assigned dishes from Rachel’s Friday demo to prepare. My steak came out just how I like it (still moo-ing, I mean ‘blue’!)  and my Frangipane and Apricot Tart was the perfect dessert to kick off the week. Tuesday’s Rack of Lamb took a lot of preparation but it was definitely worth the effort! Unfortunately my bread (yet again) was a bit of a disaster. The mixture took HOURS to rise and once it did, I dropped the loaf tin as I was putting it in the oven. Somehow, I managed to catch it before it hit the floor but knocked all the air out of it in the process. Not wanting to be wasteful, I took the dough back to my cottage and made Pizza for all my room-mates that evening. I finished my week with a flourish, successfully serving Moroccan Harira Soup, Sole Goujons and a rich White Chocolate Mousse – it’s no wonder I’m gaining a pound a week down here!

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We had a great week of demonstrations, my favourite was Wednesday’s session. Emer led us through Dynamic Vegetarian Cooking and treated us to a fantastic veggie feast for lunch. This was followed by a Champagne Masterclass from Catherine Leonard of Henriot Champagne Makers in the afternoon. Catherine explained the Champagne making process perfectly and it was such a treat to learn from an expert in the field. Ireland’s most famous wine maker, Simon Tyrrell then joined the fray to explore the wine making process in detail. He was so passionate about his craft and after tasting his wine I knew why – it’s by far my new favourite red! Other highlights of the week were Tuesday’s Italian demo which focused on pasta making and Friday’s workshop with Rachel, who baked five different types of bread – quite a feat!

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Week 8 also saw the return of the dreaded cold/flu to the Cookery School with both teachers and students alike being struck down. Once one person gets it, it does the rounds very quickly.

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With just four weeks until my time here is complete, exams are once again on the horizon, this time in the shape of our final menu – a three course meal of our own choosing. At the moment though I’m distracted by the Pop-Up Dinner event we are hosting and running in the Cafe. Our Masquerade Evening takes place on Sunday the 13th of March, serving 70 diners a three course meal. I’m thrilled to be heading up the Mains section for the night and I can’t wait for the event, it will be a brilliant learning experience for me!

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Quotes of the week:

“If you’re going to the Champagne region bring plenty of Rennie” – Colm McCann – “or a driver” – Peter Corr

“There is a global over production of wine to the tune of two billion litres per year” – Simon Tyrrell

“Generally we like to plant vines in really sh*t soil” – Simon Tyrrell

“They used to call these the scribes of the sea because they have the quill and the ink” – Emer as she took the ink sack and quill from the squid

“You’re welcome to as many breasts as you like!” – Pam, as I was asking for lamb breasts to practice recipes for the Masquerade Dinner

“Naff is back!” – Tracie, as Rachel was using a baller to create little balls of melon



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