Day Six - A day of rest ... not!


So the weekend finally arrived … but no “lie in” here ! Saturday morning 8 a.m,.up into the chef whites and down to the school cafe to meet Phillip and his crew. Phillip (from Stuttgart) is an ex Ballymaloe student who did the 12 week course in 2006 and turns the cafe at the cookery school into a pizzeria every Saturday. He teaches the butchery, charcuterie and pizza workshops modules at the school! He also has released a cookbook on Saturday pizzas. Not only all that but the pizza business has exploded into frozen Pizza too, there is a pizza manufacturing area on the farm where they make, bake and ship frozen pizzas to over 60 retailers locally and it is set to grow more in the coming months. (I love hearing these success stories)

As I mentioned in a previous post during the 12 week course students can sign up to extra curricular activities and today another student Mark and myself were on the Pizza duty. The pizza day started with us sitting down with Phillip while he put the menu together. There was a day course also taking place at the school, where about 30 people were learning about foraging and cooking wild food (a couple of the students did the day course (paid extra) and they said it was an excellent day and worth every penny, they had pockets of samphire which we sampled in the pub later! ). Phillip wanted one of his specials to have a nod to foraged ingredients so we took a trip to the greenhouse to pick some salad leaves and flowers for the days specials, paid a visit to the “pizza factory” to see it and then we went to pick some nettles! We found the best batch of nettles in the middle of one of the hen yards … I kept an eye out for an angry cockerel while we picked a load of nettles.

We then spent the rest of the morning preparing the nettles, watercress, nasturtium leaves, kale flowers and pulling a large shoulder of pork Phillip had put in the oven the night before! 

The cafe opens at 12.30 and it wasn’t long before there was a steady trickle of customers appearing. We tried to help the floor staff (some local girls, Emily & Sophie) do as much as we could and they were very patient with us even pretending to laugh at my bad jokes! The afternoon goes quickly when you’re busy … and busy they kept us. Helping Brandon with the wash up when it went a little quiet but always gravitating back constantly towards the pizza preparation area and wood fired oven as essentially that is the part we all want to really see! Niamh and Karl were very generous with their time showing us how to do everything from stretching the dough (no spinning over my head) to putting the pizza’s together, keeping the oven going and baking the pizzas. Although my back seized up early in the day (a sign you are getting old) it was a day well spent with some lovely people. Oh and the pizzas were really good too 😆

Our new house mate (Christian) arrived finally all the way from Bourgogne (Burgundy), France where he makes bio dynamic wine (google it) … apparently some of the best in the region … he’s brought some bottles so I’ll tell you soon how good it is 😜

To finish the evening a group of us headed to the Blackbird in Ballycotton for some well earned refreshments … that ended in the wee small hours of the morning ! 

Anyway a rest day tomorrow … but I will still need to do my order of work for Monday and all my filing from last week!!! 

Thanks for all the comments, likes etc… glad to see that some people are enjoying reading the blog … makes it easier to write it … especially when you have a slightly fuzzy head … must be getting a cold 😊