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 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 52 – Crackling

Today I made : Roast Chinese Belly of Pork with Five Spice Powder Crackling and Chinese Greens. This recipe was one of my top three favourites of the whole course. Usually I’m not a fan of rich, fatty meats which can leave me feeling nauseous but the spice rub cuts the richness and makes it…

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 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 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 37 – The Big Food Lie

Today I made : Aztec Soup, which is shredded chicken in broth with tomatoes, avocado and roasted chili. This is a simple recipe but it took a while because I had to joint a whole chicken, deep fry tortilla chips and roast chilies. Some people can joint chickens in two minutes. If one day I can…

Day 19 – Focaccia, Flowers, Fried Cheese

(Ballymaloe is preparing for Litfest so there are flowers and visitors all over the place.)  Today’s bread was rosemary sea salt focaccia. For once I was allowed, even encouraged, to use the Kenwood mixer. Focaccia dough is very moist so doesn’t lend itself to hand kneading. This made it slightly less enjoyable to make – I…

Day 18 – Deep Fat Frying

(Disclaimer – The picture of the chickens has nothing to do with this post, so if you want to read about fried chicken look elsewhere. I walk past them every morning and love how the red looks against the green leaves. They were cooperative today and posed for some pics). More bread today. The white yeast dough I…