Day 6 – Lamb Kidneys

Day one of week two! This morning I made a warm salad of lamb kidneys, straw potatoes and caramelised shallots, black-eyed bean and mushroom stew and brown soda bread. Last Friday I felt a bit frazzled in the kitchen which was very humbling. I didn’t want to repeat that experience so tried really hard to be organised today. It worked, and I felt a lot more confident.


Preparing the kidneys was not as disgusting as I thought it would be. You have to cut through a thick layer of fat and remove some membranes to get the edible part. It wouldn’t be my first choice for dinner but if you are going to slaughter a cute little baby lamb you should really use as much of it as possible.

The black eyed bean stew was possibly my favourite Ballymaloe meal so far. As soon as I saw the recipe I knew it would become a part of my life for years to come. It has some of my favourite ingredients and flavour combinations (cumin, coriander, turmeric), plus it’s very affordable and most likely freezes well.


In the afternoon demo we watched Rory O’Connell prepare a meal of seasonal ingredients. Rory is a very impressive man : co-founder of the school, head chef of Ballymaloe House for ten years and he was named Ireland’s Chef of the Year twice.  We were all mesmerised by his skill and knowledge.

Today I learned : 

Shockingly, there are only two legitimately organic chicken producers in Ireland. Rory used a chicken that cost 18 euros, so it is expensive but maybe we should rethink how we eat chicken and learn how to do more with it. Stocks, soups, etc.

Another word for a bouquet garni is a faggot of herbs. Haha.

Food of the Day : 

New potatoes with mint. Rory said you should never underestimate the power of a simple ingredient cooked well, and proved it with these fantastic spuds.

Line of the Day : 

From Rory O’Connell. ‘I don’t like to be seen too close to sweet chili sauce.’ It ends up in  very inappropriate places. You have to have standards for yourself!

Very vibrant cottages in Ballycotton, the neighbouring village