30 Years at Ballymaloe by Darina Allen


Food writer, broadcaster and author Caroline Hennessy has been focused on food and writing since editing Ireland’s first food website for RTÉ in 2000. Chair of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild, she established the award-winning Bibliocook: All About Food in 2005, is the author of two books about beer and food and has a column in the Irish Examiner in which she writes about small food producers and the ways in which they develop and maintain a sustainable local food system.

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31 Responses

  1. Peggy says:

    I have been dreaming of doing the 12 week course for a very long time. Ballymaloe seems like such a magical place! Hopefully I will manage one day to do it too

  2. Neva says:

    “butter was the devil’ -I was lucky to have a granny who believed in real butter and when i started college sent me off with a pound of kerrygold every week so i wouldn’t eat ‘ that stuff with the anti-freeze in it’.

    We owe a lot to the Allens, our mammies cooking and tattered copies of ‘Simply Delicious’.

    • Caroline says:

      It was always real butter in Richmond Hill! And we had plenty of tattered cookbooks lying around too. I think it was around then that I bought my copy of the grey bible – Darina’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course – used in conjunction with Nigel and Nigella.

  3. Pawel says:

    Me Please

  4. Christopher Brack says:


    its great to have someone on the international stage promote Irish food, makes you proud.

  5. Kathleen says:

    I would love to win Darina Allen’s “30 Years at Ballymaloe”

  6. Elizabeth MacDonnell says:

    I dream about doing the Ballymaloe cookery course…I also believe that sometimes dreams do come true, till then the book would be a great addition to my collection

  7. Elaine says:

    Looking forward to trying this out at the weekend, hopefully it’ll be like Granny’s been trying to make bread like hers for years.

    • Caroline says:

      It will never taste exactly like your Granny’s bread but it’s mighty fine eating. We also love it toasted – with lots of butter and raspberry jam, especially if we have a pot of The Green Apron’s Chocolate Raspberry Jam in the cottage.

  8. Olive says:

    What a wonderful article, wish I could visit Ballymaloe someday

  9. I just love Darina and her whole food ethos. I did a one day nose to tail course and it was fantastic. I’d love to go back and do the full three month course someday. Had a peek at this book the other day and it looks so beautiful and interesting – would love a copy!

  10. Julie says:

    Is it wrong of me to say that sometimes I wish Darina Allen was “my mammy”. Can you imagine coming home from school to be greeting by big doorsteps of buttery brown bread and homemade jam? What a panacea to a damp anorak, snotty nose, and bloody knees! What a respite before having to face into an hour or two of “Salut Francais” or “Seal ag Leamh 5”!

    I should add that I love my own mammy (despite her Brennan’s white sliced pan and Yellow Pack jam.) I love you mom!

  11. Robert Daly says:

    I’ve been making this and their Granary bread for the last few years and my kids live on it. Easy to follow and a joy to produce and eat. Yum ! Yum ! Great with eggs, cheese or Jam.

    • Caroline says:

      Hi Robert
      Congratulations! You’ve been chosen – via Random.org – as the winner of 30 Years at Ballymaloe. I’ve just sent you an email about it. .Hope you enjoy cooking from the book.

      • Robert Daly says:


        Delighted and surprised to win !!!! Really looking forward to receiving such a fabulous prize. Family already demanding loads more delicious new dishes !!! Many Thanks, Robert

  12. Aoife says:

    Darina was the go to woman in my house growing up. I will forever remember sitting with my mother watching her programme on RTE!! I would love to win a copy of this book!! Love your blog!!

  13. kat says:

    Would love to add this book to my collection.

  14. Tríona says:

    The Ballymaloe cookery course is my go to book for giving to people at christmas, good basics and a lot of background. Stops the brother ringing me for advice every week…

    • Caroline says:

      It’s normally the wedding present that I give to friends. Makes a great gift. And you’re right, it does cut down on emergency phone calls!

  15. Ajda says:

    My cookbook collection is coming along nicely due to the shoots I have been a part of this year. This one would be lovely to add to the collection 😉

  16. Kim says:

    Darina and Myrtle Allen are Irish food icons! I am a trainee chef in a fine dining kitchen and Ballymaloe Cookery Course is like a bible to me. As a student winning this book would mean the world to me 🙂 Love your blog, keep up the good work Caroline!

    • Caroline says:

      Best of luck with your training, Kim. It’s a long road and it’s good to have some landmarks along the way.

  17. Tricia says:

    30 years of Ballymaloe,
    the thought makes my heart glow.
    And if I win? How yummy!
    That glow will go straight to my tummy!

  18. orl says:

    Stayed overnight in Ballymaloe last year. Food was fantastic. what a feast

  19. Marie says:

    Would looove 🙂

  20. Áine says:

    Interesting article I will try the bread. I would love to do the course too!

  21. Katy Milligan says:

    Would love to win a copy of the book – my student finances would never stretch to a course at the school!

  22. Kate O Sullivan says:

    6, 4, 2…. The way Darina told us how to ratio the ingredients for shortbread biscuits on her tv show. It was also the first time I baked all by myself without supervision and to much applause! We had all her cooking books when I was a kid, I knew where to find my favourite recipes according to which colour the book was. I’d give anything to do the cookery course, so jealous of you! Her cooking, her recipes , her approach to food, I always feel comforted by it and try to follow as much as posdible! And all those who’ve carried on the traditions are doing a wonderful job 🙂 I’d love the book but whoever gets it, I bet it’ll be we’ll thumbed. Here’s hoping next year I’ll be blogging myself about the course 🙂

  23. olive hallahan says:

    We call these 3 great ladies the Blessed Trinity. Myrtle, Darina and Rachel.

  24. Pamela peters says:

    growing up with my granny making bread every morning, she was a true inspiration the trouble was she did a lot of it by eye and if you pushed her to weigh it she said it never worked so some of her versions of recipes dissappeared.
    Was thinking i’ll have a go at treacle bread one of these days and see if i could get it anything like grannies, i have loved cooking ever since the first waft of her baking!

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