This week I came to the realisation that yes I can do anything, but not everything. All at the same time. In 3 hours. Taking on a lot of extra work to push myself and learning some new techniques to broaden my skill set seemed like a great idea, but in the moment it made me feel frazzled and overwhelmed. I’m glad I did it, I felt as though I stepped my game up a notch. I am producing more wholesome food with less effort and really loving how my food is coming together. It’s a pretty good feeling. Like when you start to learn to drive a car and everyone says one day it will just come to you and you get the knack. Cooking, for me, is a bit like that. You get the knack but you continue to keep learning and growing with the food.
On Tuesday of week 7, we had a visit from Caroline and Cam from 8 Degrees Brewing. I had approached Colm McCan of Ballymaloe House about hosting a night with beer and food matching. As I follow Caroline on her Bibliocook Blog and have fallen in love with 8 Degrees beer. It was obvious they would be perfect. I particularly wanted to meet Caroline as she is a past student of Ballymaloe. I love the story behind 8 Degrees Brewing and the fact that they are part of a small craft beer community in Ireland is really inspiring. I’m hoping to catch up with the guys again at the Franciscan Wells Craft Beer Event after I finish up here at Ballymaloe.
After a late night supper in Darina’s I knew I needed something to brush off the cobwebs the next morning. Not so bright eyed and bushy tailed I ventured out into the bitter cold morning to wander around the gardens with Susan Turner and a small group of students. Susan is an incredible fountain of knowledge when it comes to gardening and after an hour of talking with us, she barely scratched the surface on the topic. We absorbed so much information from her. I am the least green fingered person I know. No plant is safe around me, so I am hoping with some of this natural wisdom she has instilled in us that I will hopefully gain some inspiration to create my very own kitchen garden one day.
Last week I mentioned that we visited the Idaho Cafe in Cork. This week, as luck would have it, Richard Jacob from Idaho paid us a visit. We had a full day of lectures of Food Business and to round off the day, Richard came to speak with us. He was so uplifting and such a joy to listen to. In one hour he was able to tell us all about the do’s and don’ts of getting into the food business and certainly made it seem a little less daunting than I was being led to believe. Richard is a living and breathing success of how to run a food business in Ireland.
This week we also got to see the mystery of making yoghurt be completely debunked. Tim and Eileen invited us down to the dairy to show us the process and allowed us to take a jar of yoghurt home. I was lucky enough to test out the domestic style yoghurt machine and had some gorgeous pot set yoghurt on my porridge the next day. Totally worth waking up in the middle of the night to check on it and pop it in the fridge to finish off setting.
I was so much looking forward to spending a weekend in Ballymaloe, as the last 3 have involved traveling and lots of plans. So this weekend was all about taking a back seat and putting my feet up. On Saturday I spent the day listening to Clarissa Hyman talk to us about Food Writing. Giving hints and tips…no. 1…avoid cliches! I walked out of there with a massive amount of new food writers to read and some exercises to help with me writing.
And what was even better…indulging in Saturday Pizzas. I love Philip’s pizzas and the Wild Garlic and Roast Jerusalem was a welcome site on my plate.
After a gentle walk on the beach down at Garryvoe Strand this morning to get my daily dose of Vitamin D and sea minerals, I’m feeling excited and ready to take on Week 8 here at Ballymaloe. I’m inspired, motivated and hungry. My sights are set on increasing my skills even more, enjoying working with the produce picked from the garden every morning and of course embracing every moment of my time here.