Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Mick went out to milk the cows!!

And milk them I did! On Friday morning I volunteered myself to go milk the cows. It required an early start but I was excited to do it. Eileen is the lady in Ballymaloe who looks after the milking, so I met her at 8.00am and we headed out to the field together to herd them in. Once the cows were in their pens it was time to wash down their udders and and test the teet! On my first attempt milk came out which I was happy about. The teet have an unusal texture….I’ll say no more on that!! Then I connected up the milking machine which consisted of what effectively was a hoover to suck at all the milk, 28 gallons in total from the 3 cows and 2 litres of cream. I did try the milk and it was warm and delicious like the best glass of milk you have ever had although I know it’s not to everyone’s taste. After the milk had been drained it was clean down time. This involves various processes of rinsing the suction system etc, a  very stringent exercise. All necessary of course!!

My Little House

Apart from Darina doing the cooking demo’s in the afternoon’s Rachel Allen, daughter in-law and celeb tv chef, and Rory O’Connell, brother to Darina also give the demo’s. The amount of knowledge and tips they pass on especially Rory. Their passion for fresh quality ingredients is infectious and you can’t help but share their enthusiasm for the food that they cook.

Tasting some of Darina's yummy food after afternoon demo

On a daily basis we cook in the kitchens from 9 until 11.30 to be ready to sit for lunch at 12. It usually ends up being 12.30 before you even get to sit down as most people are plating up for the teacher to be graded on the dish, 1 being terrible and 6 being perfect. We can arrive in at 8.30 in order to prep the veg, spices and herbs which we will be using in the mornings cooking. In the previous afternoon’s demo we would have been shown to cook the various dishes by Darina, Rory or Rachel, thus our time to shine and show our teachers we have paid attention to the demo.

Ruby grapefruit, grape and pomegranate salad

For every mornings cooking we have to write out and Order of Work. This basically means that I write out the steps of the dishes I have to execute, for example 9.00 Peel, chop and fry onions. 9.10 Add to hot pan and fry etc etc. The idea behind doing the order of work is is to help get all the food ready to serve at the same time. One of the biggest lessons I have learned in my short time is timing. Timing my cooking so everything comes together ready to serve at 11.30. It is a lot harder than you would think and something which requires practise hence the order of work.

Ardsalagh Goats cheese, fig, walnut & pomegranate salad

A day in Ballymaloe Cookery School doesn’t just involve cooking and lectures. All students have daily duties which they must carry out. These duties can vary from herb picking at 7.30am to making cheese biscuits for the chees board to feeding the hens. Each day is so jammed packed with duties. It is great because it is a good ground for learning life in the kitchen. There is no easy ride down here we all have to clean the kitchens, wash dishes and basically get a taste for the trade of working in a professional kitchen.

Rush hour in Kitchen 1

Hope you all enjoy some of the photo's and hope you continue to eat my words!!

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