On Ireland and Irish Food….

I am sure most of you know this but it’s not been long since my husband and I moved to Boston, Massachusetts. It’s a beautiful city in an equally stunning region, surrounded by lush farmland, coastal havens of shellfish and deep blue Atlantic fishing grounds. It is probably the most Irish city in the world outside of Ireland. Yesterday I was driving through Cambridge (home of Harvard University) and cycling in the opposite direction was a guy wearing a Kerry jersey. I am no longer surprised when I hear Irish accents on public transport and half of the kids working in pubs and restaurants over the summer are here on J1 visa’s from Ireland. Continue reading

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Rhubarb seems to be a controversial fruit! I have met so many people who grew up on mushy, stewed, stringing rhubarb and now cannot stand the sight of it. Then there are those who count down the days until rhubarb season so they can use the pretty pink perfection in desserts, with salads and anything they can imagine. Continue reading

Fish on Friday

Fish is one of the big reasons I wanted to do the course here at Ballymaloe. My background is in fisheries management and marine science. It is strange but I have not often cooked with fish much at home. I will nearly always order seafood in a restaurant and I truly love eating nearly every fish type. I am so aware of how valuable fish is and fisheries has been a part of my livelihood for a relatively long time. My hesitance in cooking it is probably due in part to my lack of confidence in preparation as well as over exposure to fish! Continue reading

Smokin’ hot and cold.

One of the lovely things about Ballymaloe is that you can be as involved in as many different things as you can imagine or you can focus on the day to day cooking, depending on what you are interested in. From smoked foods to farming, there is something for everyone. Some people have gone on a pheasant shoot and I have heard that in summer, people go fishing on local vessels. One guy here even visited the local abattoir! Continue reading

Organic Gardening Classes

One of the best things for me here at Ballymaloe is the breadth of knowledge that is passed along to us from each and every member of the team. Last Wednesday morning at 7:30am, a motley crew of us gathered to have a whirlwind tour of the herbs, vegetables and salads that are grown in the organic gardens here and to obtain advice from the wonderful Eileen about planting ourselves. Continue reading

Bloomin’ Brilliant Butchery!

Viewers of a sensitive disposition should look away now, this post contains all the gory details of our fabulous butchery lesson last week! Philip Denhart runs the pizza cafe Saturday Pizzas here at Ballymaloe which runs every Saturday afternoon. It is really worth checking out, delish pizzas made with organic ingredients. But Philip is a man of many talents and it turns out he is also a master butcher. Last Wednesday, a group of ten of us were treated to an after hours butchery lesson where we were taught how to divide up a lamb into the various cuts that are familiar to us all. Continue reading

A Whole New Chapter

Today has been a long time coming for me. Growing up in Cork, the name Ballymaloe has lurked around every food corner and jumped out in the most wonderful of ways at farmers markets, restaurants, bakery’s and a host of other food businesses for as long as I can remember. Since I was a 12 year old girl, starting to appreciate the wonders of food, Ballymaloe has been synonymous with the ethos of healthy, wholesome and sustainable local food doing good for everyone concerned. Continue reading

Bread Baking Adventures

I mentioned a little while ago that we were given the most wonderful wedding gift by two lovely friends. The gift involved a drive to a remote pier in West Cork, a tiny ferry and a ride in a rickety island land rover which all added to the charm that was our day at the Firehouse Bread School on Heir Island. The school is fully booked for the rest of 2015 so you can see how lucky we were to have such lovely friends!! Continue reading