Day Twenty Three - Birdsong & hat hair!


Not sure what I was thinking when my alarm went off at 4:30 a.m. this morning ... I am sure there was a few expletives and a number of thoughts about rolling over and going back to sleep ... but wearily I climbed out of bed, showered and found my way in the dark down to the school to meet up with Denis O'Sullivan (local ornithologist) to hear the dawn chorus! About twenty fellow students joined along with Darina (that lady's energy is incredible) and we moved around the farm with minimal talking and stopping frequently to listen and identify the sounds and locations of one of the many many bird species that live on the farm! It's not something that I would normally have considered doing but I am glad I made the effort to do something different and experience the dawn chorus. On arrival back to the school Tim had freshly baked crusty bread and spotted dog made for us to go with the copious amounts of coffee that was required to set us up for the day. 😴

As I was up and about I decided to go into the kitchen even earlier than normal ... I was setup and ready to go at 7:30 a.m. Today I was making ...

  • Vietnamese Chicken Salad with Prawn Crackers
  • French Onion Soup with Gruyère Toasts
  • White Yeast Bread 

The French onion soup is a game of patience ... at least the Ballymaloe way ... The onions (enormous spanish onions) are to be caramelised slowly over a gentle heat until they are a nice "caramel" colour ... in the middle of this I got my first workout in a week or so (after tweaking my knee ... long story) kneading my white yeast dough ... I went all in and worked that dough like a good faux disciple of Richard Bertinet! This may have awaken a bread making devotee ...

The results were more than sufficient and I was delighted with them! All in all a good mornings cooking 😁

A group photo was taken today and should be posted imminently ... no allowance was made for the guys and the sporting of quite a spectacular assortment of "hat hair" ... we await the results 😂

The afternoon demo was presented by Rachel and her trusty side kick Gary ... it's always an entertaining session ... todays focus was primarily on choux pasty (my nemesis)

  • Rory’s Spiced Goujons of Black Sole, Lemon Sole or Plaice with Coriander Aioli and Chilli Salsa
  • Baja Style Fish Tacos with Chipotle Mayonnaise
  • Chilli con carne with Sour Cream, Cheddar Cheese, Tomato and Coriander Salsa and Tortilla Chips
  • Steamed Basmati Rice
  • Mediterranean Bean Stew
  • Choux pastry
  • Chocolate Éclairs with Toasted Hazelnuts
    • Variations: Chocolate and Raspberry Éclairs; Coffee and Cardamom Éclairs;
  • Lemon Curd Éclairs; Caramel Éclairs;
  • Choux Garlands
  • Choux au Fromage Gougére
  • Churros with Cinnamon Sugar
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Churros with Rhubarb Sauce
  • Homemade Marshmallows
  • Vegetarian Option: Salad of the Day: Taste of the Day:
  • Cheese Galette
  • Cannellini Bean Salad

The tasting was very difficult today ... the smells from the chilli and bean stew combined with the visions of chocolate eclairs and lightly rose scented marshmallows (thanks Tiffin) ... so difficult 😜

After demo today there was an extra curricular workshop on Basic Herbalism, this was presented by Maria ... our dairy and fermentation queen ... herbalism is one of her hobbies and it was really interesting listening and seeing how everyday herbs and "weeds" can be used for all sorts of remedies, prevention and proactive treatments ... this will definitely be an area I will investigate more once I leave the bubble that is Ballymaloe! 

Tomorrow we have a business module with Blathnaid Bergin (Darina's sister) who is a well respected Restaurant Advisor ... some of the guys have already attended some of her programs before this course and they speak very highly of her ... 

At least tomorrow I am only up at 8 a.m. 🤫