I've just finished the 12 week Ballymaloe Cookery School course and am eager to share some recipes and stories from the brilliant speakers that are to come... some of which are past students who have gone around to do some incredible things: Clodagh McKenna is a prolific entrepreneur and TV presenter, Lily Higgins is a Cork native and recent publisher of her book Lilly's Dream Deli, and Jordan Bourke - a lover and educator of Korean food - has been a chef along side Ottolenghi and Skye Gingle.
Before I tell you about their event, I'll share a bit about myself and my experience of Ballymaloe thus far.
I was born in Belgrade, Serbia and immigrated with my family to Ottawa, Canada when I was just 7 months old. Growing up, I never got a particular sense that I would end up being in the culinary profession. However, high school fast-food job, turned into cafe job, turned into managing one of the top 5 sandwich counters in Ottawa. I began to discover my desire for a deeper understanding of the culinary arts and where the food comes from so that I could share my joy of cooking with the world. That's what brought me to Ballymaloe.. after a little bit of fundraising first.
Being more intuitive at making savoury food, I actually became more interested in making sweet treats and pastry during the course - especially puff pastry, it's a beautiful thing.
However, if there was one Ballymaloe recipe to share with you using lamb it would be the Mild Madras Curry. The meat is meltingly tender and the freshly ground spice blend is hypnotizing. Topped with some Ballymaloe Relish, you get a real fusion of cultures – just what I like!
Mild Madras Curry with Fresh Spices
2 lb (900g) boneless lamb
4 ozs (110g) almonds
16 fl ozs (475ml/2 cups) light cream
1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) pounded fresh green ginger
2 oz (50g/1/2 stick) ghee or clarified butter
4 onions - sliced in rings
4 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons coriander seed
2 teaspoons black pepper corns
1 teaspoon green cardamon seeds
8 whole cloves
1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) turmeric powder
2 teaspoons sugar
some freshly squeezed lime juice
segments of lime
Trim the meat of the majority of the fat. Blanch, peel and chop up the almonds (they should be the texture of nibbed almonds). Put into a small saucepan with the cream and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 15 minutes. Meanwhile peel the ginger thinly with a vegetable peeler, pound into a paste in a pestle and mortar, or chop finely with a knife, or grate finely on a slivery grater.
Cut the meat into 4 cm (1 1/2in) cubes and mix it with the ginger and a sprinkling of salt. Melt the butter and cook the onion rings and crushed garlic over a gentle for 5 minutes.
Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods and measure 1 teaspoon. Discard the pods. Grind the fresh spices, coriander, pepper, cardamom and cloves in a clean spice or coffee grinder. Add the spices to the onions and cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
Remove the onions and then add the meat to the saucepan. Stir over a high heat until the meat browns. Return the onion and spices to the pot. Add the nut milk, turmeric and sugar. Stir well. Cover and simmer gently on top of the stove or better still in a low oven 160ºC/325ºF/gas mark 3, until the meat is cooked (1 hour approx.)
Finish by adding a few drops of lemon or lime juice to taste.
Serve with plain boiled rice, lime segments and other curry accompaniments which might include - bowls of chopped mango, Tomato chutney, Mint chutney, Raita, sliced bananas, chopped apples and poppodums.
A hot chilli sauce is also good and of course some Indian breads, Naan, Paratha
Now, be sure to check out the Past Students of Ballymaloe lecture, especially if you're considering taking a Ballymaloe couse. If you run into any of us, we'll be sure to show you around the grounds and let you know more about our experience!
May 18 2014 - 10:00am to 1:00pm