Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Holy moly its week 5 already!!

Greetings from Ballymaloe again! I hope you are all well. I'm just back from a 5 mile run and feeling refreshed and revived and ready to update you all on what's been going on! It was so lovely to get out while it was still bright. I finally got to see the beautiful view from the top of the hill back down over Ballycotton. I'm not sure this picture will do it justice as it was taken with my phone but hey I thought I'd share it so you can see my surroundings!

Thursday - Ballymaloe House & Milking the cows

It has been a pretty hectic week since I was last sitting at my desk blogging. I was up at the crack of dawn last Thursday to milk the cows and after demonstration I headed straight up to work in the kitchen at Ballymaloe House.

Milking the cows was great fun and I really enjoyed it. Eileen who works in the dairy is so full of energy and great to have a chat with. They have just found out this week that one of their cows is in calf. How exciting! There will be a little one arriving some time at the start of April. I hope it arrives early so I will still be here and hopefully see the birth.

Ballymaloe House has been closed for the last three weeks so I headed up there for their first night of re-opening.  The staff were getting back into the swing of things and happy to have a quieter night to get things organised. I was okay with it being quiet as it gave me time to ask lots of questions. I spent a lot of time with the pastry chef and he was a world of information.

In Ballymaloe House, the menu changes every day depending on what's in season and what's available at the time from the farm and the local suppliers. There are five desserts on the menu which are also changed daily. This a somewhat a challenge for the pastry chef but a rewarding one. The seasons somewhat dictate what can be on the menu.

Cakes -  baking, and more baking. 
Here are two of the many cakes I made this week. The first, is a parsnip and maple syrup cake and the second is a delicious lemon meringue pie. Lots of work go into both of them but the effort is SO worth it.

Here is the first white yeast bread I have ever made. I think it turned out pretty good if I must say so myself!  White yeast bread requires lot of love and care to knead and allow the bread to rise to the perfect point before cooking. Amazing stuff really.

Friday, a more chilled out day. All smiles!

Friday's schedule in the kitchen was somewhat more relaxed than other days, thank goodness. I didn't get to bed till late so I was very grateful for an easier morning. We cooked up some lovely soups, omelettes, frittatas, salads and seafood. 

I think the pressure may start to increase over the next week as we have our technique exams on Friday the 17th of February. We have a technique sheet that every day we have to fill out with our teacher. This is to make sure we cover all the French techniques by the end of the course. This includes making homemade mayonnaise, dicing, slicing, lining flan tins, making lots of different types of pastry, making breads, scones, stocks, soups, filleting fish, jointing chicken, preparing duck, segmenting fruit etc. The list goes on and on. We will be tested on a number of these at random. There is also an exam on identifying the different salad leaves and herbs which come from the garden - there are LOADS so this may be some challenge!

Today - Irresistible Breakfasts oh YEAH!

Today was a really fantastic day. The focus was on breakfast and how you can make something so tasty out of such a simple meal. Breakfast in cafés is one meal that is really ignored and it wouldn't take much to really make people smile in the morning.

We made lovely fresh juices, smoothies, granolas, mueslis, date and apricot fruit salad, orange and grapefruit cocktail, kippers, kidneys,potato bread, eggs every way, baked, scrambled, poached, and to top it all off - a full Irish breakfast! Wow it was just a fantastic feast. We even had the special treat of finishing early in the kitchen to enjoy it all with a glass of bucks fizz. Oh we were happy campers this morning.

The next few days
We have lots of delicious and interesting things coming up on the menu over the next few days like rabbit casseroles and tasty slow cooked meals. Tomorrow is our first food costing lecture and I am also going up to work at Ballymaloe House again so I think I may fall down once Friday comes. 

If you have comments or questions about anything please give me a shout below as I would love to hear from you. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy following and I will be back soon with more.

Bye for now,

Laura x


  1. Sounds amazing!!! Following it all from Vietnam! :)

    See you when we're back!!

    Have fun,

    Donal xx

    1. Glad u are enjoying reading :) miss seeing u guys. cant wait for catch up when you get back and we can have a cook off, lol I joke! Enjoy the rest of your hols.

      Laura xx

  2. Another amazing week by the sounds of it :) Love all the breakfasts! Enjoy xx

    1. Brilliant week! I'm looking forward to have a lie in on Saturday I must say! Hope ur keeping well and thanks for following. Love that people are enjoying xx

  3. Everything you've made looks delicious! I've always wanted to go to Ballymaloe when I'm older so I'm really enjoying these posts - looking forward to reading the rest.

  4. Hi Lucy, Thanks for your comment and sorry for the delay in replying I have been out of signal these past few days. Glad you are enjoying reading. Ask me anything at any time if you have any questions, L x