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Day 25 – Red Meat

On Friday I made sirloin steak, frites (french fries), glazed carrots with tarragon, fried onions and béarnaise sauce. People around here are really getting into butchery. Knowing about it can save a home cook a lot of money.  Some of the boys bought an entire sirloin from Frank Murphy for 100 euros. They got 17 steaks from it as well as fat to render down and cook potatoes in. Carving it up was simple and required no equipment other than a sharp knife. If you have enough freezer space consider trying it!

In the afternoon demo Rachel made some fabulous cakes and seafood.

Truthfully, this week was not all fun. On our first evening here Darina warned us there are two emotional dark spots in the course – weeks five and ten. This was week five and she was right! People were worn out. Ballymaloe is a great place but the days are long, it can be hard to find time to exercise properly, hard to find alone time … it’s a bit much sometimes.  More than a couple left the kitchens to cry this week – myself included. I shed a few tears when I realised I had put my jam in the wrong jars, but of course it wasn’t really about that. Onwards.


On Saturday morning I went to Ballymaloe House to do a shift in the kitchens. Most of the chefs were women which made for a lovely atmosphere, no offence boys.  Even when things got busy people were calm and polite. I did a lot of prep work – cleaning and de-bearding mussels, covering them in butter and breadcrumbs, making horseradish sauce, cleaning oysters, making chocolate cups and LOTS of chopping. At times I wished I could listen to a podcast or something while I worked but that would not have been such an authentic experience.

I learned : There are only two inedible seaweeds in the world, found in Asia.

Carrageen moss seaweed has male and female plants. The male is bigger but unsurprisingly the female is stronger.

The wishbone of a chicken is its collarbone.

Food of the day : Tea brack. I know this is kind of a granny food but when it’s made well with plump juicy fruit what’s not to like?

Line of the day : ‘F*** you, week five!’ From a friend.

Doggy Paddle