Granola with poached forced rhubarb

Last Sunday I had people round for brunch. It’s a modern, trendy thing to do. I think. Keeping
up with the kids is quite hard these days, especially since my bad back manifested itself and I went a bit deaf.

Anyway, I have gained the [...]

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Red cabbage and dill coleslaw

I can’t begin to tell you how much I hate coleslaw. Limp shards of carrot and cabbage slithering around in an indecent white sauce; the summer is bedecked by tubs of it and the sight of them floods my body with bile. Worse is the tragic half-eaten bowl [...]

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Wild garlic and almond pesto

Just before Easter I set out on a country walk with friends to find wild garlic. I knew it was growing out there somewhere and if I foraged hard enough I’d find my treasure trove of ramsons. After a few false starts (lily of the valley is determined [...]

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Ballymaloe exam dishes from July

July

Ballymaloe moment of the month: The 12 weeks at Ballymaloe whizzed by and before I was even a bit prepared, the exams were upon me. There was the wine exam, in which I confused pouilly fumé and pouilly fuissé (the social embarrassment); the written exams, where I had to [...]

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Students in kitchen 1

1 Take a car
You can manage without a car at Ballymaloe (I did), but without it your shopping choices are restricted to the school shop, which is full of ferociously expensive and highly covetable food stuffs, and the local petrol station, which isn’t.

2 Bring stationery
[...]

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The staff at Ballymaloe are annoyingly opaque about the exams, which means the students are whipped into a froth of rumour and panic by the time exam day dawns. Foamy brain melts aren’t eased when Darina answers questions like ‘exactly how much we are meant to know about the cheeses?’ with: “The gist of everything [...]

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Pork en croûte

The last day of cooking had finally rolled round and, in spite of my disastrous kitchen meltdown the week before, I skipped into the school and fussed around my work section, humming a happy tune. I’d arrived at the end of the tunnel and was bathed in warm oven lights [...]

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Week 11. The penultimate week; our last full week in the kitchens and what, after 54 days of intensive cookery tuition, am I doing? I’m splitting the soup again.

Day 71 (Monday) began so well. At 8am I was mixing a brown soda bread. At 8.30am I was feeding lumps of butter into a saturated fat-hungry [...]

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I’ve had niggling doubts about my 1st review of Nautilus ever since I pressed publish. I’d said how the food was delicious, the service was swift and the prices completely shocking for a Londoner (no, really, Ireland, you’re very expensive), but was my conclusion fair or was it born of my Hulk-like rage [...]

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Driving into Cobh with visiting friends Trevor and Badger (they chose their own nicknames), I immediately felt at home. The stubborn row of palm trees, the waterfront promenade with railings you can hang on to when the sea breezes come howling in, the string of picturesque houses overlooking an industrial vista – for a Portsmouth girl, [...]

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