Ballymaloe Bread

Day 47 – Kassler

I started early this morning with a trip to the greenhouse to pick herbs and vegetables for the kitchens. My housemate Chrissy and I picked tomatoes, kohlrabi, courgettes, rocket and herbs.

Today I made : Kassler. A cured and oak-smoked loin of pork. I did not care for this – it had a gummy texture, and when I eat something this German I crave beer, which is sadly not on the lunchtime menu here.

Cumberland sauce. This is a punchy sauce served cold with rich luncheon meats. It’s made from redcurrant jelly, citrus zest, port and spices.

White yeast bread. This is an important technique to master so I tried it again. Each time has been different. Ordinarily I wouldn’t mind the uncertainty but with an exam looming I feel a bit uneasy.

My teacher told me I should have sprinkled the rolls with seeds to make their appearance more interesting but I view that as false advertising – I don’t want anything on my bread that isn’t in it.


I didn’t actually cook very much today but I felt stressed and busy. As Betty Friedan wrote ‘work expands to fill the time available.’ More is less.

In the afternoon demo Rachel Allen jointed a duck and made some delectable desserts, like chocolate mousse with caramel popcorn. Rachel’s recipes are more modern than many at Ballymaloe and she is seriously skilful – every time she teaches us she carves up another creature!

I learned : The little heart shaped flap covering duck and chicken butts is known as The Pope’s Nose. It is the most nutritious meat on the whole bird.

Food of the day : Fresh and summery Peach Melba.

Line of the day : ‘Here comes the science bit. Puff pastry is puffier than flaky pastry because it has more butter.’