Ballymaloe Cookery Course: Week 1, Monday

A day that starts at 6.30am (with a wake-up at 5.30am to switch on the immersion as its timer has refused to co-operate with its owners) and continues until I step out of the car at the cottage after 7pm is, naturally enough, very tiring. When it’s the first day of the 12-week course at Ballymaloe, it is also incredibly exhilarating. Today was a whistle-stop tour of the large gardens and greenhouses at the cookery school, grabbing an Asian pear and a couple of sun-warmed dusky cherry tomatoes to eat en route, a fabulous lunch of products from local artisans and garden produce and an afternoon crammed full of demonstrations, all helmed by the ever-energetic Darina Allen.

There are 58 other students from seven different countries in the class, ranging from gap year students to people looking for a career change but, no matter what you’re there for, there’s one thing certain: days are going to be long. We start at 8.45am, will take turns at collecting the fruit and vegetables needed for the day’s cooking from 8am, can volunteer to milk cows at 7.30am – and that’s before we do any cooking. Tomorrow starts with kitchen tours and, with us cooking in pairs, making our own lunch. Now, it’s time for hot chocolate and bed.



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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5 Responses

  1. Tor Chittenden says:

    Hi!Sounds like the course is going to keep you very busy! Glad the two of you are all moved to the cottage – time to stay put for a while I reckon – eight moves in 3yrs!Will be in touch properly soon, good luck with the course.Tor

  2. Thanks Tor – even busier on our second day today! Hope your convertable is going well for you. It’s getting way past convertable weather here – lots of ice on my windscreen this morning at 6.50am.

  3. Carina says:

    Wow. Sounds like an amazing course. I know you guys don’t have dairy cows at the folks or the cottage, but with your background, you can probably skip that option! Please rest on the weekends!

  4. Caroline says:

    I did milk the cows at my Grandad’s place in Oldcastletown so you’re right – I can probably miss that out. Tomorrow morning I’m on garden duty, though, collecting the produce that we will be using in the day’s cooking so that necessitates being at the school at about 7.50am. The Husband is not going to enjoy being dragged out of bed so early!

  5. eimear says:

    Hi car, all sounds very exciting am looking forward to hearing all. Dad would love to hear that you are interested in milking cows….

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