Day Thirty One - A day for outside ... and wine!
The beginning of a long day when I rose at 7:15 a.m. with the intention of turning up for the organic gardening class at 7:30 a.m. this morning ... there was a larger turnout than usual ... I wonder has that got anything to do with the trip to the greenhouse that was promised in order to help us with our preparations for next Fridays exams ??? Haulie (one of the gardeners) brought us on a tour of the salad leaves and herbs identifying each one .... that we all photographed in earnest! 😜
Classes started at 9 a.m. with the biscuit of the week ... normally it's Darina's territory but as she's away Rory O'Connell was giving a quick brownie making lesson ... cooking plenty for our 11 a.m. coffee break ... just to make you jealous ... 😇
- Banana Nut Brownies;
- Alexia’s Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie
- Ruffles Chocolate Brownies
- Spelt Brownies with Chocolate Ganache, Pistachios and Rose Petals
Then ... we looked at a few Irish farmhouse cheeses ... Gubbeen Farmhouse Cheese, Durrus and Dunmanus Farmhouse Cheese. with Rory talking us through all the characteristics and history of each.
After that ... at 9:30 a.m. we started ... wine tasting ... with Colm McCan! Starting the day with a sparkling wine (to cheer us up apparently ... it worked) ... After the 11 a.m. break we venture outside to the fruit garden to continue in the sun! This you could get used to ... you can see me below being super serious 😘 (we had "tasted" 4 wines by then") ✅
Lunch then was a pork feast ... as you can see below ...
The afternoon lecture was all about preserving food ... with Rory. We went through multiple receipts for common pickling, salting etc.
- Flavoured Oils and Vinegars
- How to Dry Mushrooms
- Sundried, Semi-Sundried and Oven-Roasted Tomatoes
- Preserved Lemons
- Pickled Eggs
- Pickled Vegetables
- Pickled Cucumbers with Turmeric and Mustard Seed
- Nasturtium Seed Capers
- Compressed pickled herbs and stalks
- Dried Chillies
- Orange Ratafia
- Rhubarb Shrub; Raspberry Shrub
- Sloe or Damson Gin
We broke the session in two with the afternoon session being held in the amphitheatre and focusing mainly on freezing food and Common Spices. (it was almost too much under the sun ... almost!) ☀️
We weren't done ... at 6 p.m. Colm McCan (our wine teacher in case you'e forgotten) had arranged for two prominent French wine makers specialising in organic / bio dynamic wines to speak to us and let us taste a selection of their wines (Luc de Conti of Tour des Gendres in Bergerac, South-West France and Jules Verhaeghe of Chateau du Cedre, in Cahors, South-West France) This was a particular treat as both spoke pasionately about their craft and about what they are not putting in their wines compared to the industrial wine makers. I will consider seriously never drinking non organic / non bio dynamic wines ever again when I leave Ballymaloe - The amount of chemicals being put into the growing and making of wines would shock you ... I know it has shocked me more than I ever thought possible)
As if that wasn't enough ... we had our social wine tasting tonight where we tasted another six wines ... life is hard ... as usual it was a good laugh and very enjoyable. 😉
Oh and I got attacked (not really ... more a lunge) by a hen / cock (not sure) ... see blurry photo ... 🤫
So tomorrow ... I get to cook again ... hopefully the jinx will be lifted ... if not ... 💥
I am cooking French Peasant soup (should be handy enough as I know a few of them 😘) and Ballymaloe Irish Stew with pearl barely ... fingers crossed I get my mojo back.