Ballymaloe Day 61: Rare, juicy and full of flavour

My bum hit the seat and I was instantly stuck. I had a food baby and I wasn’t planning on moving anytime soon.

Course after course, wine after wine – Let me tell you about yesterday’s dinner. I briefly mentioned in last night’s post that I was jetting off to Ballymaloe House for a special wine dinner.

Hosted by Colm McCan and Peter Corr, the drinks on the menu last night were personally selected by wine writer John Wilson of the Irish Times.

First, we had a tasting of six wines and it was such a pleasure to be in the presence of someone who knew how to express love for wine and sherry without any snobbery attached to him.

Like Colm, John has a way of sharing his knowledge with such humour.

As well as the tasting, there was an opportunity last night to head to Ballymaloe House, and I managed to nab a spot last minute.

Costing €65, the three-course dinner included carefully selected wines for each course, as well as Champagne to start, and sherry and dessert wine to finish. It was a pretty special night that I won’t forget anytime soon and exceptional value for such an experience.

But back to the present.

After making sure that I kept well and hydrated, I headed into the kitchen with that Friday feeling buzzing around. On the to-do list for the day was a Normandy Pear Tart, as well as a cucumber pickle, smoked seafood platter and a steak (obviously not on the same plate!)

Since a lot of work was to go into the tart, I started on my shortcrust with sheer determination and a hand ready to whisk to my heart’s content.

Over the course, I’ve noticed that I seem to have some skill when it comes to making desserts, which is so strange to me because I don’t have a sweet tooth.

Though I messed up a few of the finer details in my dishes, I managed to pull off a 10 (yippee!) for my tart and I was seriously looking forward to lunch where I was to tuck into my massive beast of a steak.

(My rare/blue steak – yum!)
My seafood platter (apologies for the poor camera quality).

Utterly satisfied, I plonked myself back into my seat where I inevitable was stuck to during all of demo.

(A running joke in the cookery school, keep an eye out for this plate if you ever visit!)

One of fellow students, Karen, was hosting the Irish premiere of her short film “Slice” for Slow Food Cork, and we headed back into the cookery school for an excellent night of entertainment.

For those who don’t know, Karen is a director and a writer and has worked as a story producer in reality television for the past eight years including shows such as Project Runway, The Bad Girls Club, The Academy, Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Starting Over which won a Daytime Emmy.

She is a fabulous person and a more fabulous friend, and it’s a delight to have her on the course.

This weekend is once again all about hitting the notes and finally deciding properly on a final menu. Fingers crossed for me!

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