Ballymaloe Week 2 / Big Bright [cloudy] Lights

FILM CREW!?
FILM CREW!?

For this post I'd like to talk about my roots.. I grew up in Ottawa, Ontario but I was actually born in Serbia. I attribute feeling 'at-home' in Ireland because of my European roots. Another thing I'm taking in from the Irish culture.. (mind you, I'm in a very remote place.. so this could be particular to where I am) but damn everyone is so incredibly nice! They are so helpful.. giving rides, offering things to borrow, like a bicycle?! Film crew?

Charcuterie Board
Charcuterie Board
Food set for a special project.
Food set for a special project.
Musicians!
Musicians!
One thing I wanted to get back into was music. There are a lot of bands around here.
One thing I wanted to get back into was music. There are a lot of bands around here.
I finally had fresh fish sushi from the sea! Actually, Ballycotton - the harbour town - directly intersects the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea!
I finally had fresh fish sushi from the sea! Actually, Ballycotton - the harbour town - directly intersects the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea!

I also had a chance to make my way into Cork city, the biggest city near by us. They also have an amazing indoor farmer's market called The English Market. Tourist from all around come here for quality products from the fertile Cork soil.

CORK CITY! beaut.
CORK CITY! beaut.
Crew going to Cork!
Crew going to Cork!
Fresh Fish from the Market
Fresh Fish from the Market
The famous English Market!
The famous English Market!
Beautiful cappuccino and beat salad.. waiting for my sandwich. At Farmgate Cafe!
Beautiful cappuccino and beat salad.. waiting for my sandwich. At Farmgate Cafe!
BACON SANDWICH
BACON SANDWICH
Real fish.
Real fish.
Teaching my peeps how to eat oysters..
Teaching my peeps how to eat oysters..
...expecting freshness
...expecting freshness
There are shells in them...
There are shells in them...
they weren't shucked properly...
they weren't shucked properly...
disappointment.
disappointment.
Patty's day at the 'EURO SHOP'
Patty's day at the 'EURO SHOP'
- One Direction -
- One Direction -
Beautiful cafe.
Beautiful cafe.

This week we also had a cheese maker come in. He was a full on scientist, too. I've never seen someone more passionate about their job.

Home made fresh ricotta cottage cheese (un-broken) with rose and pistachio.
Home made fresh ricotta cottage cheese (un-broken) with rose and pistachio.
Labneh (strained yoghurt) with anchovies, chili, mint and pepper. DELISH
Labneh (strained yoghurt) with anchovies, chili, mint and pepper. DELISH
Beautiful ricotta with herb, calendula (an edible flower) and home-made crackers.
Beautiful ricotta with herb, calendula (an edible flower) and home-made crackers.
I milked these cows today!!
I milked these cows today!!
Check out the worldwide Slow Food movement! This lecture was on Irish culinary history pre-potato.
Check out the worldwide Slow Food movement! This lecture was on Irish culinary history pre-potato.
snacks before lecture..
snacks before lecture..

More on food politics next blog!

Ballymaloe Week 1 / Humble Beginnings and World Travels

Where to begin? The first week is finally over and all the students are thrilled. Ballymaloe Cookery School is a 'full-on' (as they say) 8:30-5:30 day with a lunch break in the middle. That is, if you don't have any of the 'farm to table' duties which may include:

  • picking salad greens, herbs and vegetables bright and early (actually when it's dark)
  • washing up dishes after demo
  • feeding the chickens kitchen scraps
  • serving the students lunch that we all cooked together in the day

A typical day starts with kitchen work in pairs. We cook the food assigned to us that was demoed the day before. The night before we have to write out an 'order of work' before we start cooking. An 'order of work' is a schedule of what to cook so that you can serve up 3 fresh courses at the same time. Then, the kitchen teachers come around and grade your work based on cooking technique, presentation and taste. I have to say that I've been having to 'un-learn' many of the bad kitchen habits I got myself into being self-taught at cooking. I'm learning such basic skills that improve the flavour of the food immensely! I can't recommend this course enough to aspiring chefs or people just wanting a greater appreciation for food.

I say 'humble beginnings' because as much as I already know about the food industry and how unsustainable it is.. as much as I already how how good local food can taste.. I am completely blown away by the attention to detail and new skills I'm learning to make myself a better cook.

Below is a sample of photos from the trip so far!

Lesson 1. Organic Farming = tasty food. ps. Check out those Wellies #style!!
Lesson 1. Organic Farming = tasty food. ps. Check out those Wellies #style!!
A dragon.
A dragon.
Planing a lettuce. I called her Penelope.
Planing a lettuce. I called her Penelope.
Welcome meal. FYI to anyone wanting to make me my favourite foods..
Welcome meal. FYI to anyone wanting to make me my favourite foods..
The beautiful mirror above the demo counter for all the students to see. Brilliant!
The beautiful mirror above the demo counter for all the students to see. Brilliant!
After demo, we taste the food, see how it's plated and then try to recreate it for the next day.
After demo, we taste the food, see how it's plated and then try to recreate it for the next day.
Perssimom and Pecan Salad.
Perssimom and Pecan Salad.
Goat Cheese, Dried Local Fig Salad.
Goat Cheese, Dried Local Fig Salad.
Chorizo Arrabiatta Penne
Chorizo Arrabiatta Penne
Chocolate Hazelnut Tart as Demoed by Rachel Allen.
Chocolate Hazelnut Tart as Demoed by Rachel Allen.
Our homework sheet.
Our homework sheet.
Studying at Coach House (our cottage)
Studying at Coach House (our cottage)
Friday celebrations at Blackbird Pub in the costal town of Ballycotton.
Friday celebrations at Blackbird Pub in the costal town of Ballycotton.
Ruins behind the pub.
Ruins behind the pub.
Locals getting sassy.
Locals getting sassy.
Local at the Blackbird pub.
Local at the Blackbird pub.
Walking down to say hello to the Atlantic Ocean.
Walking down to say hello to the Atlantic Ocean.
Spooky church in Ballycotton.
Spooky church in Ballycotton.
Live guitar and flute!
Live guitar and flute!
Pub Grub
Pub Grub
Food stand out the back of the pub. They serve sushi and dumplings! Blackbird Pub.
Food stand out the back of the pub. They serve sushi and dumplings! Blackbird Pub.
Hot Toddie at the Pub!
Hot Toddie at the Pub!
Out in Midleton, the town where Jameson Whiskey is brewed.
Out in Midleton, the town where Jameson Whiskey is brewed.
Goat Cheese Bruschetta
Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Ballymaloe Arrival / Potatoes & Mushrooms with Fried Egg

Ottawa - Toronto - Amsterdam - Cork
Ottawa - Toronto - Amsterdam - Cork

I landed. I was tired. I was the first to arrive at cooking school and was welcomed by...

So I was hungry and made the following.

Golden Potato Coins with Fried Onions, Mushrooms and Sunny Side Egg
serves 1

2 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 cm width-wise
1/2 cup sliced white mushrooms
1 small onion sliced thin
2 tbsp butter
1 farm fresh egg
salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 tbsp butter in a heavy bottomed frying pan on medium high heat. Add in your potatoes (they should look like coins) and fry until golden brown on one side (5min) then flip and fry until cooked through (5-7min). Toss in salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Remove potatoes to a plate with paper towel (warmed, ideally) and melt in the rest of the butter (1 tbsp) until melted. Add in mushrooms and onions and sautee until cooked through (about 3min).

When cooked, move the onions and mushrooms to the side of the pan and add the egg. Cook until the white part of the egg is opaque (about 3min). Add salt to taste.

Add Potatoes in a large bowl, add mushrooms and onions, then top with the egg. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The next day we had our orientation dinner.

We had pizza but I had the gluten free version:

DSC00594-1024x575.jpg

A week's of classes ahead!