Hanging onions

Week 4 began at 8am inside a postbox red van. Every day 2 students are rotaed to help gather the herbs and vegetables we need for that morning’s cooking and I was driving down to the 1 acre glasshouse with The Head Gatherer. The sky was blue, the air was fresh […]

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Split mushroom soup

I’ve never liked mushroom soup. The forest floor flavour often surprises me by being nice, but the slimy, chewy, grainy texture that slops off the spoon like condensed catarrh makes me shudder and push my bowl away.

However, mushroom soup was one of my dishes for Friday, so I carefully […]

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My 1st blue plaster

The 6th May was a significant day in my Ballymaloe cookery career: I earned my first blue plaster. I got my cobalt coloured sticky stripes peeling Bramleys for spicy apple chutney. In the pursuit of excellence, I was slicing off the tiny bits of peel that wouldn’t let go […]

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Lamb I carved

I strolled into Kitchen 2 on Tuesday, relaxed and recharged after the Bank Holiday weekend. It was 8.40am, I had my order of work, I’d remembered my knives, I knew exactly what I had to do – or almost exactly. I was down for Supervisor duties on the rota, so […]

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The view from Nautilus

If Ballymaloe is our Babylon, then Ballycotton is our Soddom and Gommorah. Timourous, befloured students cast off their discipline and hunger for knowledge on the 2-mile journey to the harbour village and arrive there with a thirst for beer and dancing and whatever else they can get.

Our […]

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A little bit of Bolly

A thunderstorm killed the internet in the cottages this weekend, so I’ve been cut off from the outside world. No lol cleggz, no Scrabble, no online arguments about the price of fish to keep me entertained and no way to update G&C. So this is a […]

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Hendrick’s Gin

A break from the Ballymaloe transmissions and a welcome return to the world of gin. There’s nothing like the peaceful calm and tranquil quietude of the countryside to make you turn to drink. If it wasn’t for the pub and the possibility of inappropriate sex with a fellow student (or better […]

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Chicken with mushrooms and rosemary

Readers, I burnt the potatoes.

I knew that it’d be the simple things that’d fox me at Ballymaloe. The things that you stick in a pan or leave in the oven and then slap on a plate at home. Potatoes, rice, pasta – the damn soda bread. And […]

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Milking the cows

Monday began early and in welly boots. I walked down to the milking parlour at 7.30am to help The Silent Pole milk the 2 Jersey cows that supply the school and Darina’s family with milk.

Or, he milked the cows while I stood in the corner and watched, occasionally asking […]

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Bad brown soda bread

On Friday I was cast from the Celestial City of Rhubarb Compote Happiness to the Slough of Soda Bread Despond. I failed at the Beginner’s brown soda bread. The picture you’re looking at is a photo of a loaf of soda bread deemed so bad it wasn’t fit to […]

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