Day Thirty Nine - A kind of Chaos! 😱


Today was a strange day ... not sure why but it was manic ... the morning started at 8 a.m. in the kitchen ... I then realised I had forgotten some of my recipes so that threw me a little! Off I went to collect them ... when I got back I just went into normal cooking mode ... Made a white soda bread that again turned out really well (I will have to start on some Italian breads next!) ... today I was also making ... an apple and mint jelly ... Poached salmon with asparagus and hollandaise and then glazed fruit!

The cooking was fine ... there was just an atmosphere of madness today ... everyone seemed on edge and really busy (I know we had an extra 30+ people for lunch today so maybe that had something to do with it) I had Rachel Allen again as my teacher and she makes the day go by so quickly and always with a laugh! πŸ˜‚

I also made puff pastry ( I did that in the afternoon) for the first time ... It's a lot of effort but I hope next week we will see how good (or not) it is and then if it will be worth it ! πŸ˜‰

After Lunch we had some Opera singing guests sing for us ... they are part of the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival  who have an event in Ballymaloe house tomorrow ...

We also had a flying visit from the one and only Thomasina Miers ... for those of you who don't remember her ... Well ... she is one of Ballymaloe's biggest success stories ... she attended Ballymaloe in 2002 (12 week course also), she won Masterchef UK in 2005 (I remember watching it). She also co owns Wahaca (chain (26+) of Mexican restaurants) in the UK !


Todays demo was a little delayed due to the hectic morning and of course at the start of demo there was a dozen questions on the exam ... Rachel took todays demo and the dishes were ...

  • Rillettes of Fresh and Smoked Salmon with lots of serving suggestions
  • Rory’s Mimosa Salad
  • Spring Garden Salad with Cashel Blue Dressing
  • Parmesan Crisps
  • David Tanis’s Watercress, Beetroot and Egg Salad
  • Polenta
  • Italian Beef Stew
  • Gremolata 
  • Beef and Oxtail Stew
  • Colcannon
  • Beef Steak and Kidney Pie 
  • Rumbledethumps
  • Mixed Leaf Salad Yoghurt
  • Cardamom Cream
  • Gooseberry and Elderflower Compote
  • Passionfruit and Mango Compote o
  • Ciabatta

After class I got my knives sharpened by Phillip (danke) in preparation for tomorrow but there was also a slow food event going on at the school that I decided to go to! 

The event itself was a talk by Mark Jenkinson from Cockagee Natural Irish Cider (The Cider Mill Slane). Mark makes award winning cider and has won best cider in Ireland for the last 3 years! Mark is clearly passionate about his craft and it was very interesting to hear him talk with such enthusiasm on the history of apples, native Irish apple varieties orchards, keeving & cider making in Ireland,

We also tasted four of his ciders and a Perry (pear cider) - if you are just used to normal run of the mill cider ... try this stuff ... it's fantastic! 

So it was back to the house with the intention to study but true to form ... I got distracted 😜 ... I made a batch of kombucha  (my first batch !!!!) and that should be ready in ten days. I am also writing this monstrosity while I should be learning off recipes for herbs ...

Tomorrow exams ... for those of you interested ... they will be in the following format ...

One Part ... Herb and Salad recognition - we are given 10 herbs and 10 salad leaves and we have to identify them (by sight, taste or feel) we then have to name 2 Ballymaloe recipes where we would use each herb) We will also be asked to present and pour a bottle of wine (no dripping), lay a table (for a specific menu) and then assemble a food processor and mixer! 

The second part ... 2 standard techniques to complete (chop and sweat and onion (using a cartouche obviously!) & make a paper piping bag! Then we have another two techniques (from a list of 26 (joint a chicken, fillet a flat fish, make scones, segment a citrus fruit ....)

The whole thing should be over by 15:30 so ... at least thats something! Fingers crossed! 

I also have a special visitor arriving tomorrow for the long weekend ... so I am looking forward to spending some quality time with the little Greek who I haven't seen for almost eight weeks now ... 😘