Thursday, 26 January 2012

Time flies when you are having fun!

Week 3 is nearly over and I really feel like I am getting into the swing of things down here.  I have found that baking is something that I really love and little did I know I'm not too shabby at it either. I felt very proud yesterday when Darina complimented my wholemeal bread because apparently she never gives compliments! I want to keep practicing and practicing all the things I wouldn't usually make at home and hopefully I will leave here after mastering something, if not lots of things!!

I never would have said I had a sweet tooth before now, but believe me, it's impossible not get hooked on sugar when there are so many amazing things being cooked up around you. We are on strict orders by Darina to taste everything!!

This week we worked with many wonderful seasonal ingredients such as white turnips and jerusalem artichokes. I was a bit wary about the jerusalem artichokes because my Mum calls them 'fartichokes' but we all survived okay - I think!! One of my favourite dishes we made this week was mangoes in lime syrup. I am a huge fan of mangoes, I even had one just on its own for my dinner the other evening! The mangoes in lime syrup was so deliciously tasty and fresh. I will definitely be making it again. I have been trying to write down lots of little ideas for the food for our wedding as we are going along but I think by the end of the 12 weeks it is going to be VERY hard to decide! Mini yorkshire puddings with horseradish cream? Salmon roulade with chive cream cheese?? There are never ending possibilities!!

Our theory day this week was even better than normal. Instead of lectures, we had a demonstration morning which means a feast at lunch time!! The morning was focused on lovely winter warming dishes such as braised lamb shanks, roast rib of beef, stuffed breast of lamb, gratin potatoes, yorkshire puds... and the list goes on! My mouth was watering as soon as the morning started!!

The afternoon we did some menu planning and we learnt about making different oils and vinegars. Menu planning may sound like a pretty straight forward and common sense thing for some people but it is the difference between sink or swim for businesses trying to make money. You need to consider lots of different things: seasonality and availability of the produce, balancing tastes in the meal, guests budget and taste, the food value and nutritional content, and also the season and the weather. You don't want to serve a hearty stew in the summer time.

Yesterday evening I had an appointment with Darina to discuss job opportunities. If you want to make an appointment with her, all you have to do is make the perfect pot of tea and bring some nice biscuits for her! Darina is so genuinely interested in helping all her students find work. She calls us her 'babies'. She gave me so much inspiration and advice and I feel a bit better about what to do next. My problem is I need to make the decision now and I am terrible at making decisions because I know I would love to do anything to do with food: teaching, food styling, food writing, working in a restaurant, making a food product. There are so many options! I am so happy I am doing something I really love to do though. It took me so long, with lots of tears, to make this decision to change and I am so happy I made it. I recently got given a book called 'How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything' and I am really looking forward to reading it. In the meantime, I better get working on my cv anyway and I get applying for jobs!

All in all it has been my best week yet. I got some really great compliments from one of the senior teachers for my hard work and focus in the kitchen. She said its not something they can teach people and she said she could see great potential in me. It made me feel very proud and that I need to believe I can do this. I feel very excited for what's next and what I'm going to learn over the next 9 weeks.

Thats all for now. If you want to ask me anything just leave a comment below and I will make sure to get back to you, or even if you have any suggestions or advice I would love to hear from you.

Here are some photos for you to enjoy.

Thanks so much,

Laura x


  1. Hey Laura! Looks like you are getting on AMAZINGLY well in Ballymaloe! So delighted for you, it takes guts (and as you say tears!) to go for your dream but I wish you the best of everything with your new career. You're an awesome, inspiring chef with infectious energy! What an exciting year ahead. Good luck with the weeks to come! Lisa (DCS Alumni!) x

    1. Thanks so much Lisa. Yes it took my a long time and lots of tears to change career, I think you remember back to DCS when I was to'ing and fro'ing about my decision. I guess when you get so far into something it is a huge decision to be back at square one after working so hard at Architecture. How are things with you? I am hoping I will get back to DCS for some work experience if I can. Would love to get some teaching practice. Glad you are enjoying following the blog. I hope I will get time this week to blog as Ballymaloe House is back open so I am going up there some evenings to get some experience. Keep in touch and thanks again for the lovely comment.

      Laura xxx

  2. Amazing pictures Laura, looks like you are having so much fun! I have an idea about your possible job - how about becoming a wedding planner/mobile cheff :) lovely blog and comments - I cannot wait for more updates already! Becky x

    1. Hi Becky, aw your so nice with your comments. Delighted people are enjoying my updates. Wedding planner/mobile chef would be an awesome job!! Currently gathering swatches of material trying to decide on colour themes!! Thanks for following and I hope you enjoy the updates to come. Laura x