Ballymaloe Day 3
"Someone's onions are burning" is not what you want to hear when Darina walks into your kitchen *wipes brow*. Luckily my onions were fine, sweating as they were supposed to be, as was I. Today was our first day cooking on our own and it's been pretty intense. Cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen, in our uniform, with new knives, not knowing where anything has been a little overwhelming and the reality of working in a busy kitchen has hit.
I was partnered with my housemate Meg and assigned to cook Basil Pesto, Potato Soup with Chorizo and Fork Biscuits. We had to do out an order of work last night where we schedule our prep and cooking time, I thought I was ahead of the game planning to be done by 10.30am, but lo, I didn't finish up until 12.30pm. I wasn't the only one, it's all in the preparation it seems. Then I cut my finger by just touching off my knife while it was on my chopping board, these brand new knives are dangerous. In my rush at the end I forgot to put the orange rind in my first batch of biscuits. So I had to hurry to add it to the rest and was then told that I'd attacked the orange, instead of grating it, got the job done anyway!
Potato Soup with Gubbeen Chorizo, Fork Biscuits and Basil Pesto
After cleaning up our spaces, it was time to eat what we'd made at lunch. "Fasten your seatbelts, you're in for a long, and possibly bumpy, ride" was Rory's (Darina's brother) introduction to this afternoon's demo. It certainly was, he cooked 15 dishes in 3.5 hours, and we'll be assigned 3 each to recreate on Friday.
Rory's demo Wednesday afternoon
Some tips picked up in the last few days...
- Sugar added to a tomato salad brings out the flavour, and is great with cucumber
- Never add oil to the water when cooking pasta, it stops your sauce from sticking to the pasta
- When draining pasta, always retain some of the cooking water for thinning a sauce or to loosen the pasta
- Green beans, just tossed in butter and salt and pepper are delicious
- When cooking veg, use what's in season locally, not 3000 miles away
- Beans take more salt than any other veg, spinach takes the least
- If beans squeak, they're undercooked
These are just some of the points I've remembered from the mountains of information we've gotten since Monday. Seems it'll be important to pace ourselves and not get intimidated by what we don't know. As Rory said, "don't try to be an Olympian in the first week, or you'll be an Olympian without a finger".
Pumpkin in the glasshouse, so big it's bursting through the window
Students planting their lettuces
The Ballymaloe Dome, inspired by the Millenium Dome in London
The Shell House in the background, built by
Palais des Poulets
Margaret Jeffares, founder of
Tasting plates after demo on Tuesday afternoon