Ballymaloe Cookery Course: Week 2, Tuesday

Back in the cottage and briefly online this evening. The Husband and I moved into a house in Ballycotton last night with one of the other students, who had also been commuting from North Cork. After the beds had been made, the fridge stocked and the supper eaten – I used up a large bunch of carrots from last Thursday week’s Mitchelstown market to make one of Darina’s Carrot Soups at the weekend – we had time for a long walk down through the town, followed by the best night’s sleep I’ve had since I started the course. No worries about waking an hour early to put on the immersion or getting up at 6am to get into Ballymaloe on time. I’ve never been so thankful for an electric shower and physical proximity to the location where I’ll spend my day! In Ballycotton we are also much closer to the Husband’s work place so it’s a winner all round.

So why are we back at the cottage tonight, you may ask, especially as I’ve to be in at 8am tomorrow morning for an extra organic gardening class? With the Husband taking off to Galway tomorrow it’s the only way we can manage so that I will have the car for the rest of the week. Then it’s back to stay in Ballycotton for the next few nights before – and this sounds familiar from last year’s weekend commutes to the cottage – hitting the road on Friday evening so we can spend the weekend in our home, pottering about the garden. Last weekend I finally got around to making some Damson Gin, I’ve identified a bank of sloes for picking after the first frost for this year’s Sloe Gin and the apples on our best apple tree are slowly ripening to perfection.

Tonight it’s time to relax and enjoy the fire – no cooking on Wednesdays so no time plans to write out and today’s recipe filing can wait till tomorrow night. The practical classes are going more smoothly this week. There was a little panic yesterday as everyone changed partners and many also changed kitchens. Luckily I got to stay in Kitchen 3 so at least I knew where the ingredients and the scales were on Monday morning. Not that that helped too much when I had mis-read our dishes on Friday and came into class thinking that myself and my partner only had to do four of the six dishes that we were actually scheduled to complete. So I still had a mad rush, jointing chickens, making tomato purée, grating ginger and, worst of all, peeling grapes, especially as I was also on bread duty. Then, when it came to tasting, my teacher thought my dishes were both under-sweetened and under-seasoned so it’s going to be sugar and salt all the way from now!



Food writer. Broadcaster. Blogger. Author. Married to Eight Degrees Brewing. Member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, founder of Irish Food Bloggers Association and co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider (New Island)

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6 Responses

  1. peeling grapes – what a job!!!When I started cooking with my MIL, more terrifying than any teacher or cooking school;)I never used to put enough salt in, she used to kill me!! Thanks a mil for the mention to Joe, I’ll be terrified if it goes ahead:)

  2. Caroline says:

    I can sympathise with your mother-in-law salt issues! I’m tasting and seasoning, tasting and seasoning like a madwoman these dats. One thing that I have found handy is if you take a little of the sauce onto a seperate plate and season that – easy to taste the difference and that way I don’t oversalt the whole dish!Are you talking about Jim? I think you’d be great at doing it if it all comes together! Best of luck and let me know if it goes ahead – not much time for listening to radio at the moment!

  3. Sarah says:

    Hi Caroline,Laura told me about your blog; it’s brill because I’m off to B’maloe myself in April so am looking forward to reading all your posts to get an idea of what’s in store – it’s so exciting!Sarah

  4. lorraine@italianfoodies says:

    O my god I keep getting his name wrong – how bad am I. I called him Joe on the phone the other day too, I better record Paulo and Derek and play it over and over when I’m in bed:) Was supposed to happen today but been put off until Monday so I’ll let you know! A stiff drink always works wonders;)

  5. Poor Jim, he’s going to start feeling unloved! Best of luck on Monday – hope it all goes well for you, Lorraine. Be sure and let us know how you get on!I was talking to some of my classmates about doing the course at other times of the year and the consensus was that April would be the best time to do it – well chosen Sarah! You’d have all the summer produce to cook with, getting up early in the morning would be a pleasure – although I can’t say we’ve done too badly in the last two weeks, weather-wise – and you mightn’t get so many flighty teenagers on your course either. Drop me a mail ( if you’ve any questions at all. I know I had loads before I started and it wasn’t easy getting answers!

  6. Sarah says:

    Thanks Caroline. I’m looking forward to reading your posts on how the course is going for you. The reasons above are exactly why I’m doing the April course with one addition…. My gran lives on a farm in Killeagh so I’ll be staying with her; I figure that all the mice will be back in the fields by April & I won’t have to worry about any of them peeping up at me from the corner of the bedroom ;o)

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