The Food Rut

I thought I would join in with the rest of the internet in celebrating the 20th anniversary of the best show of all time. This is a piece I wrote many years ago to apply for an internship with a now defunct food blog, but I still think it’s relevant. Happy Birthday, Sex and the…

Ballymaloe : A Retrospective

I learned a lot at Ballymaloe. I think the real thing I learned was how much I don’t know! But in a nice way. Sometimes the small fish in big ponds have more to learn than big fish in small ponds. Here are some tangible take-aways : Sharpen your knives. Restaurant chefs sharpen their knives…

Day 60 – So Long, Farewell

On Friday we took our final exams. There were three papers, lasting 5 1/2 hours, covering topics like food hygiene, business, recipes, cooking terminology and herb, spice, meat and fish recognition. Recognising joints of meat and fish was the hardest part for me. Kitchen 3 was a house of horrors. We were sent in groups…

Day 59 – Practical

Today was the practical cooking exam. I had three hours in which to make three courses and a loaf of bread. My menu was Indian themed. The main course and dessert were two of my favourite dishes from the whole course so I wanted to make them again, the starter seemed a natural fit. My…

Day 58 – Cook Ahead

(Ballymaloe is a very beautiful place but my favourite thing to admire is by far the Palais des Poulets and its residents. So gorgeous. I will miss walking past them every morning).  Our practical cooking exams began today. We have to make : One starter. One main course. One dessert. And one loaf of bread. The time…

Day 57 – RORY!

This morning we had our last demo of the course with Rory. All of the instructors here are fantastic but Rory is really very special. He is hilarious, knowledgable, observant, calm, glamorous… I could go on! He has a gaggle of fan girls on campus. He demonstrated some classical recipes today. Beef carpaccio, poached salmon,…

Day 56 – Corn on the Cob

Today was our last day of regular cooking. This Thursday I have my practical exam where I have to make a three course meal and one bread. Besides that and maybe a few more loaves of bread I am done in the kitchens here! Just when I was getting the hang of it. I made…

Day 55 – Lobster Vol Au Vent

This morning I was on salad duty. This is one of the more laborious duties – you start an hour early, pick lettuce in the glasshouse and fields, bring it to the kitchen, wash it, remove all the stalks and make dressing. It takes a long time, but I do eat salad every day so…

Day 54 – Pastry

Today I made : Three kinds of pastry. I like pastry but today was a challenge because the kitchen was hot and sweaty. Ideally you want to make pastry in a cold room so the butter doesn’t melt. I did my best. The first was Amaretto Almond and Strawberry tart. The shortcrust pastry was very…