This morning my housemate Chrissy and I were in charge of picking herbs and vegetables for the kitchens. We were driven down to the glasshouse at 7:30 by Igor and helped him pick rocket (arugula in the US), coriander, mint, rosemary, lemon balm and flat leaf parsley. I wasn’t looking forward to the early start but ended up really enjoying it – Igor was so helpful we came away feeling as if we had taken a private gardening class. Some of his tips will surely be useful in our herb recognition test in a few weeks!
In the kitchen I made an apple crumble tart and chicken with a mushroom and rosemary sauce. I can proudly say that I jointed half a chicken. All you need is a sharp knife, confidence and to follow the bones. It kinda seems like nature made chickens for us to eat. I also managed to cook it perfectly without chopping into it first!
Right before lunch is when things went downhill. So far everything at Ballymaloe has exceeded my expectations, so a little hiccup was inevitable and today was its day. I had three jobs. As well as herb picking I had to carry buckets of food waste down to feed the hens, and then had to sweep the floor. I wolfed down some lunch and went straight back to work. I know I sound spoiled but I didn’t even have time for coffee! And I love coffee!!! I felt like I was doing more maintenance work than learning how to cook and was very frustrated. I understand that cleaning and long hours is what chef life requires, but I’m not a chef yet, I’m a student paying a LOT of money to be here. Surely the line needs to be drawn somewhere?
Today I learned : Tartaric acid (cream of tartar) is a by-product of wine making. It is also one of the only ingredients that never expires, which is handy because we really don’t use it all that much.
Food of the day : Grapefruit, pomegranate and mint salad. My partner Hien made it and as soon as our teacher inspected it we promptly devoured the rest of the plate ourselves. It was like a refreshing gift from above in the middle of the hot kitchen.
Line of the day : From Chef Pam. ‘To be able to peel an avocado is my dream.’ One of life’s great pleasures.