Thursday, 7 October 2010

Hogwarts in Kitchen 2

Another day of Alchemy in the Ballymaloe Cookery School kitchens. Starting with 3lbs of windfall apples and some lemon peel and mint the students of culinary alchemy applied both water and fire to the base metals.

Once reduced to a pulp the mixture was strained through a jelly bag and the resultant liquid, now a healthy blush pink was reheated with additional sugar and finely chopped mint till it reached setting point. Transferred into jars we had turned apples into a stunning Apple and Mint Jelly.

My other main task today was to create a Coconut Milk and Lemon sorbet, a beautiful creamy concoction which refreshed as it melted in your mouth and which combined with a Crunchy Orange Scone produced ummami. Sadly it was so good that no photos could be taken as it was consumed faster than the click of a lens.

At this point I suffered my first injury of the course.

This was not caused by my ineptitude with a knife or self inflicted during a fastest chopper competition. No, sadly it was as the result of someone leaving broken glass from a Pyrex jug in a sink full of soapy water. Not the worst injury so far managed but one which was totally avoidable and thus totally annoying.

Off then to lunch and a combination of elements cooked by colleagues, spicy bean stew, salsa, tortillas and my own contribution basmatti rice. I have to say the method employed here produces really great rice and is one which I shall adopt henceforth.

Lunch over we all headed back to the Demo room for the afternoon. More ways to cook fish were highlighted and accompanying dishes before white yeast bread was added to our repertoire. BUT the main highlight for me was a demonstration of the legendary Ballymaloe Chicken Liver Pate. I have made this for years but having seen Darina perform it I can only get better. Luckily I will be making my own version tomorrow along with Cheese Biscuits and a Redcurrant Glaze. ( These do not necessarily all go together but, when combined with the output of others will provide a healthy balanced lunch.)

Finally in the Demo a real treat. Next Thursday is the School Trip!!!!! Not a museum or theme park but visits to producers. How lucky are we? Getting right to the heart of the provenance of food is really important and a day to which we are all looking forward.

And the last point. Some readers may have noticed a difference between earlier and later editions of the blog.  This was because some of my comments about wine proved upsetting to the producers,importers and demonstrators. The purpose of the blog is to reflect honestly, if slightly out of left field, on the experience of being a student at Ballymaloe. It is not to cause distress to anyone so I was happy to amend the later version. Hopefully no one else will take umbrage and the followers will continue to get an insight of the fun and value of being a 12 week certificate course student.


  1. oh dear such a serious injury did you not just put a plaster on it?

  2. Serious, did someone have a moan up about the wine blog? Sad people if they did!!! (excluding Mum of course)