Cooking in Shanagarry, Cork, Ireland

posted on: Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Cutting a mountain of courgettes

Courgettes from the farm

The finished product!

I signed up for Ballymaloe Cookery School in Cork simply because I saw a guy I follow on Instagram go there. It looked great, but I didn't really know much more about it. So it's a great surprise that the food and philosophy of the school exactly match what I really love. 

It's relaxed home style cooking, with an emphasis on fresh vegetables from the farm gardens. What also really appeals to me is that nothing here is ever wasted. All the scraps are saved and given to the chooks and everything else is recycled. If there is too much of something it is frozen or re-used at the next meal. 

There are fifty students here for the week course from all over the world and it's a bit like Masterchef.
You arrive in the kitchen at 9:30am and you need to complete all your meals before 12:30pm each day. Everyone then sits down and shares what's made for lunch.

We were all given a list of recipes and asked to select two to make ourselves. I opted to make a grilled Pork Burger with fennel and pistachios, and an Apple and Plum Sauce for my first dish. Second up was Buttered Courgettes with Majoram and a tomato fondue. You work with a partner and we decided to also make a joint dish of Colcannon which is an Irish classic: essentially mashed potatoes with cabbage, buttermilk and spring onions.

I have to say apart from having a great time cooking, I have never eaten so much or so well. There was fresh buttermilk and yoghurt from the cows for breakfast. Then soda bread and homemade raspberry jam, cucumbers and tomato from the garden and steaming hot Barry's Tea. Lunch was a huge garden salad with edible flowers, my pork burgers and plum apple sauce, homemade lemonade and my classmate's three stone fruit pie with jersey milk pouring cream. Divine. By dinner all I could fit in was a boiled egg from the from the farm.

Tomorrow I have volunteered to get up early to pick vegetables with the gardener and then it's on to much more cooking and eating!

If you want to see what the amazing farm looks like, check out my other posts:  A Week in Photos at Ballymaloe, Ballymaloe Cookery School, and Berries, Bees and Pollan.

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