Boozey Cranberry and Brazil Nut Tart

This is a really good festive tart. The filling is not unlike a very very soft chocolate chip cookie dough, studded with nuts, berries and laced with booze. It’s a boozey cookie pie. What’s not to like? This recipe gives enough for a 25cm circular tart. I recently doubled the recipe and made a big…

Butter Chicken

I’ve been really into Matty Mattheson ever since I stumbled across him on YouTube a few years ago. The man’s food has got heart and soul. So when I had a bunch of chickens to use for a lunch special in work it was the perfect opportunity to try his recipe for Finger Lickin’ Butter…

Rice Bowls with Crispy Pork Belly

I made these rice bowls in work recently.  Usually when I cook a dish for service I never eat it for lunch – you have just been so in it it loses all appeal. But I ate a porky rice bowl two days in a row after spending my entire morning consumed in its preparation…

Pumpkin Pie

Recently I did the cooking for a pre-gig dinner. For the main event I used whatever produce was available/leftover/cheap/boss-approved. But for the dessert I HAD to make pumpkin pie. I was born in New Hampshire where the official state fruit is the pumpkin. Plus, a family friend serves in the state legislature and was responsible…

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…