Ballymaloe Days 13-15 and Weekend 3

Well, it was bound to happen. My computer is currently on the fritz…it is making a weird fan-like noise, and the battery symbol has an X on it. I have no idea how to fix it or when my battery will run out. Anyway, I want to try and stay as up-to-date on my blog entries as possible, so I’ll do my best. Fortunately, I might be going back to Dublin over the weekend, so I’ll hopefully take it in for service then. Unfortunately, I will now have to condense the rest of last week’s entries into one entry. This is so annoying. Sorry everyone.

Well, the rest of last week was interesting and busy as usual. In no particular order, here is a stream-of-conscious list of what I did:

  • messed up making orzo (I’ve made this a million times at home), but then I overcooked it here…figures
  • made Brown Yeast Bread, and it came out awesome
  • attempted an apple and mint jelly and ended up measuring the water incorrectly…does that mean that I wasn’t ready for the jelly? (à la Destiny’s Child’s Bootylicious)
  • learned what to do with inexpensive cuts of meat including lamb neck and lamb breast (tasty)
  • cooked and peeled Dublin Bay Prawns – very easy indeed
  • whisked mayonnaise from scratch – not very easy indeed (my arm hurt wicked bad!)
  • made an apple pie, and the pastry came out fine, but I didn’t cook the apples all the way through…I’m still an amateur at this

I’ve realized over the course of this week that the things I think will be easy and simple end up being the most complicated. Maybe I don’t focus so hard on the things that I know I can already do and then it all falls apart as a result. I am also reminded on a constant basis that I kind of suck at multitasking. I would prefer to cook one thing at a time, but of course that is not realistic when you work in a kitchen. You really have to pay attention to a million different things at once. It’s very different than working a desk job… even a high-stress one like being an attorney. It is just a completely different way of working and mentally processing what is going around you. It is also physically exhausting, as you are on your feet and running around constantly.

Enough of cooking stuff…I had another great weekend down at Ballymaloe. On Friday night, most of my housemates and I stayed in with a few bottles of wine and had some lovely chats. Then on Saturday, we headed into Midleton and went to the farmer’s market and grocery store to stock up on ingredients/wine/booze for another dinner party at Jamie’s cottage. It turned out to be a fantastic evening, as everyone contributed to the courses. I made a prawn bisque, which had pretty good flavor (threw in some tabasco sauce and Worcestershire sauce), but next time I will strain it through muslin instead of a metal sieve (extra bits of calcium are good for you, right?). Jamie and Jenn made a gorgeous labne with their yogurt. Matthew made a cheddar and chive souffle. Jamie made a tarragon chicken. Kait made roasted vegetables, and the dessert was an apple tart made by Cat. I paired the dinner with a Vinho Verde from Portugal to go with the soup and salad and a Pinot Noir from New Zealand to go with the chicken. Jamie also made Moscow Mules (vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice…yum!). We drank, we laughed, we danced…and did a bunch of other ridiculous things…but another great night indeed.

On Sunday, we all had a bit of a lie-in…as most of us didn’t end up going to sleep until the very early hours of the morning (or is it the very late hours of the evening?). Anyway, once we were all up and about, we decided to go for a stroll on the Cliff Walk in Ballycotton. It was really gorgeous. This country, and especially this part of the country, is just stunning. I’m very lucky to be here.

Some pics:

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