Monthly Archive: November 2007

Ballymaloe Cookery Course: Week 11: Wednesday 5

Ballymaloe Cookery Course: Week 11: Wednesday

Wine exam over – phew! – so it’s now time to get stuck into revision for next week’s theory papers. Meanwhile, we’re treating ourselves very well in the house. I made my second pair of sourdough loaves yesterday and, when I brought them home, the Ranelagh Housemate produced his home-cured bacon so we had the Best Bacon Butties Ever with our homemade bread and bacon, followed by a side order of Homemade Noodles with Chicken Liver Sauce for the Husband, scrounged from school for the Husband.

www.greatfood2buy.com 0

www.greatfood2buy.com

Congratulations to Anne Kennedy over on Greatfood.ie who has got her new fine food and ingredient gift shop – Greatfood2buy.com – off the ground in perfect time for Christmas. I know she has been cooking and testing for the Greatfood.ie range of chutneys, preserves and jams – Wild Cranberry and Apple Relish sounds especially good and I think I’ll have to pick up a jar of Onion Marmalade with Plums and Port for myself. Living in the countryside, it’s not always easy to get your hands on things like puy lentils, verjuice, organic polenta, lavender honey, quality spices or my favourite argan oil but Anne has put together a great selection of products that can be all yours in the click of a button (if you have the use of a handy credit card…) She also has the award-winning Castle Leslie range of balsamic reductions for sale – a bottle of their Balsamic Reduction with Sherry and Fig has gone down a treat in this house, with spoonfuls being tasted at regular intervals. I have great plans to use it on some pan-fried duck breasts, if it ever makes it all the way to the kitchen. Watch out next week for Greatfood.ie’s Flavour of Italy range, including fine pasta, mostarda gift sets, Italian dolci and wine.

Ballymaloe Cookery Course: Week 10: Thursday 3

Ballymaloe Cookery Course: Week 10: Thursday

Today everything clicked into place, despite last night being a late one with the Sister at a musical evening in Ballymaloe House and lots of red wine! I was in at 8am on gardening duty with the ever-perky red-socked gardener. The two of us whizzed around the greenhouse or, rather, she whizzed – I plodded along behind at half speed – gathering quantities of parsley, chervil, coriander, kale and Swiss chard, which we then sorted, washed and labelled back at school.

Ballymaloe Cookery Course: Week 10: Tuesday 2

Ballymaloe Cookery Course: Week 10: Tuesday

Last week I had a really good time in the kitchen with lots of ideas for my final three-course exam meal. We have to have the menu and a detailed list of ingredients in for Wednesday, alongside the occasion for the meal, the reason for the choice of menu and accompanying wines. I’ve been toying with cooking Shanagary Chicken Casserole but, the closer I get to the deadline, the more I’m veering towards a duck dish, maybe the Pan-Grilled Duck Breast with Spiced Lentils and Caramelised Apples that I made on Friday or the Duck Legs with Onions that we also cooked that morning. We have three courses, along with a bread – allocated by lottery – to be prepared in three hours and we’re penalised if we go over time. Conversations revolve around the pros and cons of different dishes, my head is full of menu permutations and I’m also working on the latest collection of short First Course pieces for Intermezzo magazine. Is it any wonder that I dream of cooking food every night?!

Balllymaloe Cookery Course: Week 8: Sunday 9

Balllymaloe Cookery Course: Week 8: Sunday

Some days, after the morning’s cooking, you feel on top of the world; others leave you feeling like you never want to set foot in a kitchen again! Thursday was one of those days. I had a simple enough list of things to cook – Pan-grilled Steak with Béarnaise Sauce, Cauliflower Cheese and Pommes Allumettes (matchstick-thin chipped potatoes). I was also on lemonade duty (which reminds me: did that jug of lemonade ever make it to the dining room? I got out of the kitchen so late that I completely forgot about it!) and decided to get another bread ticked off my technique list so made a Stripy Cat, a soda bread flecked with chocolate and, because I love that combination, orange rind.

Balllymaloe Cookery Course: Week 8: Tuesday 7

Balllymaloe Cookery Course: Week 8: Tuesday

After a scattered start – I forgot to check this week’s duties and I was actually on early salad prep – Monday was a day spent sitting in demo for the home butchery part of the course. We started easy, jointing a chicken and duck, gradually working our way thorough half carcasses of lamb, pig and a large chunk of a dead bullock. It was not the day to have a hangover as German master butcher Philip cut and sawed his way through a small mountain of flesh and bone. As a child I loved being sent to the local butcher, especially if there was a long queue as it gave me an opportunity to gaze, fascinated, at the butcher as he went about his business, reducing large hunks of meat into family-sized portions. Today we watched as chickens were spatchcocked, legs of lamb filleted, pork brined and sausages made. I’m not sure when I’ll next be landed with a lamb carcass to cut up but at least I’ll have the notes at the ready.

Balllymaloe Cookery Course: Week 7: Wednesday 3

Balllymaloe Cookery Course: Week 7: Wednesday

After starting at 8am on Friday – I was on Early AM duty, shaping and rolling pizza bases for that morning’s demonstration – and having our first set of set of exams that afternoon, the last thing I needed was a night at Declan Ryan’s Arbutus Bakery. But, as my father continually tells my mother, when you enlist your must soldier, so 11.30pm found me wending my weary way along the dark, foggy roads en route to the bakery in Mayfield Industrial Estate on the outskirts of Cork City.


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