“The biggest scam of the 21st Century – Low Fat” – Darina Allen
Week 9 was an exciting week at Ballymaloe Cookery School: we had a wonderful Canapes demo from Rory and Darina (my mouth didn’t stop watering!) and our School Tour on Thursday, a whole day of traveling to visit different food producers and artisans across Cork and Waterford.
I had a successful Monday in the kitchen, serving Madras Curry, a Mint Chutney accompaniment and Poori, a type of deep fried Indian bread. I enjoyed each dish except the Poori, they take on so much oil, it feels a little like you’re eating a heart attack! Tuesday (which turned out to be my last day in the kitchen) was an interesting day of cooking. My Green Pea Soup was delicious and a joy to make but was contrasted by the tedious Oeufs Mimosa – halved boiled eggs with shrimp, homemade mayo, a thinned-out homemade mayo (to make it look like a full egg again) and sieved egg yolk on top – a real labour of love! I also made some beautiful Poached Pears for dessert and spiked the Chocolate Sauce with an unholy amount of Rum; perfect!
The demo’s were very enjoyable this week, my favourite sessions took place on Wednesday. The Canapes demo in the morning was fantastic, it’s so inspiring to watch the detail and care Rory takes when plating and presenting his food. Our wine tasting in the afternoon culminated with sampling a delicious Valpolicella. This wine will definitely be on my next Christmas menu, it has beautiful raisin and dried fruit undertones.
Thursday’s school tour started with a trip to Bill Casey who runs the smoker on Ballymaloe Farm. He brought us through the process of smoking salmon all the way to the final pin-boning and packaging. We then headed to the Saturday Pizzas factory where owner Philip spoke about the history of founding the business and how it’s growing. After chatting with Philip, we jumped on the bus to Mahon Point Farmer’s Market. We met stall holders and tried lots of wonderful artisan food. My favourite was the Hazelnut Ice-Cream from Yum Gelato. Ali and I had tried their Tiramisu Ice-Cream at Litfest last year and we had been on the look out for them since, I was delighted to see them again! After a tasty and filling Pulled Pork Bap it was back on the bus, this time to visit Knockanore Farmhouse Cheesemakers in Co. Waterford. Eamonn showed us the whole process of cheddar making. He was such a passionate and inspiring man. We took a brief detour to Baldwin’s Ice-Cream, followed by Nude Food in Dungarvan and we rounded off our trip with a tasting and demonstration at Dungarvan Breweries. We headed back to Ballymaloe with full bellies and tired heads! It was a long but great day and inspiring to see so many passionate people doing what they love; there’s hope for all of us!
I had to come home early this week but I had a lovely weekend of cooking at home. Ali organised a Sunday Bake Sale in aid of Cats Without Homes, a local cat rescue that we foster cats and kittens for, so we spent much of Saturday evening together baking batches of Scones, Chocolate Brownies, Almond and Orange Cake, Lemon and Oreo Truffles, Apricot and Frangipane Tart, Spotted Dog and even some Homemade Dog Biscuits (Penny and her friends love them!). It was our first time cooking together since Christmas and it’s something we love to do. The Bake Sale was a great success and we raised 400e! On Sunday I cooked for Mother’s Day, giving my Mam a well-needed break. I served Leg of Lamb with Colcannon, Glazed Carrots, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Apple and Mint Chutney with Gravy and for dessert I baked a Lemon Tart with Disaronno Cream. I got the best compliment from Pops who said it was just like his Mother’s Sunday dinner, I was thrilled! Each course was a success and could well form the basis of my final exam here at Ballymaloe. Only three more weeks to go!
Quotes of the week:
“It’s kind of lethal to taste this cos it might never go back into the freezer” – Darina, talking about the Ballymaloe Vanilla Ice-Cream
“Would you mind Pat, giving it a little shake in front of the mirror?” – Rachel
“The more wealthy they are…..the less amused they are by a piece of salmon stuck between Madam’s toes….” – Rory, on the importance of making canapes easy to eat
“In the name of God where did you get the bird’s nest Rory?!” – Darina, as Rory was presenting quail egg canapes in a birds nest.
“A load of blacked out vehicles out front and lots of security with Mrs. Allen wondering who this “J.P.” fella was” – Colm McCann, on Jay Z’s visit to Ballymaloe House
“We take three thousand years of culture and really muck it up!” – Colm, on the Irish treatment of Sherry