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!
Last week was a week of extra curriculars for me! Some of us made a cheese on Monday with Maria in our micro dairy on the farm, which was really great fun and very interesting. Unfortunately, we have found out that some mould got into the cheese fridge so we will never get to taste our cheese – sob!
On Wednesday, Pat (one of our teachers here) talked us through the ins and outs of smoking food. He introduced us to hot smoking using smokers that you can put on a hob at home. He smoked chicken, duck and even nuts in the hot smokers which were so delicious!
He then brought us outside to see the schools cold smoker which they built themselves last year. In this, Pat had smoked eggs, fish, chillies, garlic and even butter! It was fantastic to taste the difference between hot and cold smoked foods.
On Thursday, my salad recipe included smoked almonds so I was lucky enough to get to use the smoker myself. It really was very straightforward and I would seriously consider buying a smoker myself. Its amazing how a small touch like these almonds can make a world of difference to a dish!