Ballymaloe Day 1 - Gastro Bootcamp Begins!
Day 1 at the Big Bro..I mean Ballymaloe Cookery School is now completed and I'm back in my new home, the Pink Cottage. I arrived here, with another student Karen, yesterday afternoon and met my housemates for the next 12 weeks. Sharing this cottage with 6 other girls from the US, UK and Dublin, we spent last night getting to know each other over tea and X factor.
This morning we were up bright and early for breakfast in the School. It was heaven, homemade granola, fresh berries, banana in lime syrup, porridge etc. After breakfast it was out for a tour around the farm garden to see the herbs and vegetables, pigs and hens, the ingredients we'll be cooking with while we're here.
"It all starts in the good earth"
First off Darina showed us the compost, or "gold" as she calls it. This is compost made up of the food scraps from previous students about one year ago. This goes back into the earth, and is now "live", as demonstrated by the worms in it. Darina spoke passionately about how the quality of the food we eat is dependent on the 6 inches below ground and described the circle of how our food scraps create fertile ground for the next season's growth.
The Herb Garden
We then went into the glasshouses to see the veg growing. I couldn't stop taking pictures of the tomatoes, green, red, yellow they were amazing.
The farm manager, Haulie showed us all the vegetables growing in the glasshouse and we tasted the cucumber.
Each student got to plant their own Cos Lettuce, lets see how mine progresses in the next 3 months.
Then it was back for lunch, a tasting plate of herring, chorizo, chicken liver pate, shrimp, smoked salmon, mussels, scallion, tomatoes and devilled egg. We won't be going hungry here anyway.
We spent the afternoon with Darina doing a demo, cooking a brown soda bread, vegetable soup, mint lemonade, cookies and a mushroom a la creme sauce, all of which we'll be attempting to cook tomorrow morning.
After finishing at 6pm we all had the chance to sign up for extra-curricular activities over the coming weekends, so I'll be helping at the Farmers Market in Douglas, helping out at the kitchen in the "mother empire" Ballymaloe House, theCrawford Art Gallery Cafe, the Saturday Pop-Up Pizzeria at the Cookery School, as well as making my own cheese! Busy times ahead.
A great day, and can't believe I'm finally here learning how to cook with my food hero, Darina. I'll try to keep this updated as often as I can, now it's time for a snack and bed before our first day cooking tomorrow.