Potting shed

It’s getting hot in the kitchens!

We have just completed week 8 here at Ballymaloe cookery school and I genuinely cannot believe how fast time is flying by! It is all starting to become a bit of a blur where the dishes become more complicated and the days more filled, but that’s where the fun lies!


Scallops, Steak, Tart

A full day’s menu

One of my favourite things to eat in this world is scallops and I was lucky enough to be able to cook a few on Monday last week, along with a steak, chips and bearnaise sauce (which I would happily swim in!) The time has come for us to start thinking about what we would like to cook for our final menu, which we are examined on during the final week and I will admit I am struggling with identifying the dishes I want to cook! There are so many to choose from but I am sure I will narrow it down eventually!


potting shed

Mr McGregor’s potting shed, or so I like to think!

Tuesday was a beautiful day on the farm and I took every opportunity possible to get out and about. I love the herb garden here, for anyone who has ever read Beatrix potter books, this little shed reminds me of Mr McGregors potting shed in the Peter Rabbit story. There is even a pair of wellies outside the shed door with rosemary growing in them, highlighting how every space is so valuable here.

Rosemary boots
I’ve told you before about the piglets, well I’ve had much more time to visit them this week. Boy have they grown. They are so funny now, they are messing about and running into each other and not giving mummy pig a moments peace! They are still cute though.

I’ve begun thinking more and more about the next steps after this course, although that in itself is hard to face, leaving the bubble! As many of you will know, I will be moving to Boston, MA to join my wonderful husband as soon as my time here is up. It’s so hard to think that I will be leaving everyone behind in Ireland once more, friends and family and now the new friends I’ve made in Buttermaloe. Nonetheless, it is an incredible opportunity for travel and adventure that we have been lucky enough to be offered. I am so excited to get to know Boston and the states and to begin exploring the wonderful food there too! Ireland even introduced me to some snowy weather on Friday this week to help prepare me for Boston winters!

Ballymaloe snow

In the mean time, here is a yummy pecan squares recipe which we have every Wednesday at coffee time and it reminds me of the proper American pecan pie.

Caramelised Pecan Squares:

Darina Allen, Ballymaloe Cookery School:


Pastry base

  • 100g icing sugar, sifted
  • 285g plain white flour
  • 225g softened butter

Pecan topping

  • 200g butter, melted
  • 150g honey
  • 3 tablespoons (45g) cream
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 400g pecan nuts
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  2. Grease a Swiss roll tin (38cm X 25.5cm)
  3. In a bowl, mix together flour and sugar then rub in the butter. You can actually whizz this in a food processor.
  4. Spread into the tin nice and evenly. Bake the base for 20-25 mins until pale golden.
  5. Meanwhile mix the melted butter with the honey, cream and brown sugar. Stir in the pecans.
  6. Spread the topping over the pastry base and return to the oven for a further 25 mins.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting into squares. This can be cut into small squares as it’s very rich!

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