Week One Down: What a Whirlwind!

I cannot believe week one is over already! Where does the time go! The first week here at Ballymaloe Cookery School was a blur of information, in the best possible way. Learning about processes and procedures is so important here, to ensure we can do everything “the Ballymaloe way”.  Everything from chopping and frying onions to rolling pastry and lining tart tins almost has to be re-learned, but that’s part of the fun! 

I have also loved meeting everyone and learning everybody’s story. People from all over the world have converged on this little corner of Ireland with a shared passion of food and it is so wonderful. There is a woman who has spent the last year travelling around Europe with her children and husband in a camper van and this is their last adventure before returning to the real world. There are many like me, who have always dreamed of being here or fancy a change in career. There are people who already have successful food businesses and are just looking for a different perspective on food. It’s incredibly diverse and exciting.


Chef whites selfie! (apologies for the poor lighting!)

What have I loved….in all honesty, everything! From early morning stock and salad duty to the wine and cheese morning we had on Thursday, it has all been incredible. Most of all. I’ve loved seeing the beautiful dishes created by Rachel, Darina and Rory that we have the privilege to recreate the following morning! I’ve dreamed of spending my days cooking and I just can’t get the smile off my face. It is full on and exhausting, but it’s worth it!


Colm McCann, Sommelier at Ballymaloe House


Some titbits from week one and a recipe below.

Buttermaloe is all about the healthy fats…butter, cream and oils!

The two evil words around here: Margerine and Microwave!

Darina strongly believes that there is no such thing as cheap food. If we scrimp on produce and ingredients now, we will inevitably pay the price and have been victims of the poor food societies that have been established by huge multi nationals for many years. Eventually, something has got to give.

Fork Biscuits:

These are so simple and delicious with a cup of coffee in the mornings.

Makes 40-50

  • 225g Butter
  • 100g castor sugar
  • 300g self-raising flour, sifted
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  2. Cream the butter using a woodenly spoon until it’s really soft and fluffy looking. This can be done using a paddle attachment to a stand mixer or even a hand mixer.
  3. Add in the castor sugar and cream again.
  4. Add in the flour and mix until it just comes together. Do not overwork it.
  5. Pick off pieces of the dough and roll into little balls the size of a walnut or maybe a bit smaller.
  6. Space out well on a baking sheet and press down with the back of a fork dipped in water. This flattens them and gives the the stripy top you re looking for.
  7. Bake in batches in a preheated oven for approx 10 mins. You can sprinkle them with sugar when baked for an extra bit of sweetness.


Darina extolling the virtues of simple living


The wonderful Rachel in afternoon demo


Just some of the beautiful dishes demo’d to us each day!


Some of my cooking, every day I look forward to trying more!


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