Day 49 – Aloo Makallah

Today I made : Duck breasts with spiced lentils and caramelised apples. I LOVED this dish. Each element is good alone but together were one of ‘those food moments.’ .Rich meat, sweet juicy apples and earthy lentils. The chili in the lentils gave it interest but no heat. The sweet fruit makes the meat taste meatier….

Day 48 – Fire

Wednesday. Theory day. No cooking, lots of learning. We covered exam topics in the morning. Do YOU know how cold your freezer should be? Or how much acidity is in extra virgin olive oil? (-18C, and 1%.) For lunch, Mariano from Brazil (rumour has it he used to  work with Francis Mallmann) roasted a lamb…

Day 47 – Kassler

I started early this morning with a trip to the greenhouse to pick herbs and vegetables for the kitchens. My housemate Chrissy and I picked tomatoes, kohlrabi, courgettes, rocket and herbs. Today I made : Kassler. A cured and oak-smoked loin of pork. I did not care for this – it had a gummy texture, and…

Day 46 – Oyster Shooters

Today I made : Ottolenghi pistachio and rosewater meringues. Like many Dublin girls my mother used to bring me on meringue pilgrimages to Avoca, so they are one of my all time favourite desserts.  This recipe was fun fun fun. I love the rough, rustic presentation. It really makes a difference when you make food…

Day 45 – Shanagarry Chicken

Today I made : Shanagarry Chicken Casserole and Ulster champ (buttery mashed potatoes with peas and parsley). This is rustic, peasant style food but labour intensive. You have to joint a whole chicken, make gravy and use a lot of equipment, which means lots of washing up.  I added mushrooms a la creme to make…

Day 44 – Strawberries and Cream

Today I made : Almond meringue with strawberries and cream. The toasted almonds make it crunchy and toasty, a nice contrast to the juicy berries.  I had extra meringue so I made these little babies with mashed strawberries and cream. I like it when there are leftovers to play with because you can present them…

Day 43 – Roasted Field Mice 

This morning we had a demo on canapés and finger food. Rory and Darina shared ideas for catering and entertaining. It’s very funny to watch the brother sister duo working together. The ability to pull off a pair of statement specs clearly runs in the family.  Tip of the trade : keep presentation trays busy…

Day 42 – Pasta

Today I made : Lasagne verde. This took FOREVER. One of the big things I have realised at Ballymaloe is how many corners I cut when cooking at home. If you want to charge money for your food you have to do things right. I had to individually destalk the spinach leaves without bruising them,…

Day 41 – Happy Hour

Today I made : White yeast bread. You have to make most things on the technique list three times. I had only done this once so wanted to tick the box again. I made a plait and dinner rolls, so I also got the ‘shaping dough’ box ticked.  Lemon balm and lemon verbena sorbet. The recipe…

Day 40 – Dark Caramel

  Today I made : Two loaves of bread. One brown yeast, the other white soda. I finished the creme brûlée I started on Wednesday. The teachers say the most important thing when making caramel is to hold your nerve. You want to burn it enough to make that amount of sugar palatable. I held…

Day 39 – Tour de Cork

Today we took a field trip. Our first stop was Mahon Point Farmers Market, located at the entrance of Mahon Point shopping centre. Initially this struck me as odd, but when I thought about it I realised how clever it is. The market and shopping centre guarantee footfall for each other. People at the market…

Day 38 – Pollock

Wednesday is theory day.  We had a break from the kitchen and watched Rory demonstrate meat free cooking. I have dabbled in vegetarianism but over time have realised I’m okay with meat. I do feel a little guilty when I walk past the piglets on the farm but continue eating meat because : It’s delicious….