Ballymaloe Day 66: “We should treat them like diamonds”

“This is nature – I get so happy when I see something beautiful like a Brussel sprout” – Trine Hahnemann.

Time has been moving very strangely here in Ballymaloe. There are days when hours whizz by and others when time stands still.

The past few nights I’ve been waking at crazy hours, and I don’t know if that’s because I’m anxious or just restless – But enough worry, let’s get on with what happened this Wednesday.

Today we had a wonderful guest lecture from Trine Hahnemann (pictured above) who came in to demo Scandinavian/Nordic cuisine.

For those who don’t know, Trine is a Danish chef and food writer, who is exceptionally knowledgeable when it comes to talking about and demoing food from her country.

(Fillet of plaice with shrimps and basil dressing)

She celebrates ingredients and actually values them individually, which made it all the more exciting to watch her work (on talking about vanilla pods she says that because they’re so expensive and do so much that “we should treat them like diamonds”).

Going through many traditional dishes as well as revamping others, she showed us how to make Kringle (a gorgeous yeast dough), pork cheeks with Brussel sprouts and cauliflower mash, as well as other treats.

I can happily say that I was quite stuffed at lunch time.

Darina’s daughter-in-law Penny was on hand with Emer by her side to run us through the principles of fermenting in the afternoon, and with mead, kombucha and kefir on the list, I was looking forward to the demo ahead.

Before cookery school, I never even imagined how easy it could actually be to do all of these things at home – but now that I’ve them under my knowledge belt, I feel like the world really is my oyster (by the way, if anyone sees me clearing out the kitchen floor in Arnotts, you know what I’m up to).

As a late night session, myself and Sophie headed back into Kitchen 1 to work on our brioche. Fingers crossed it’ll actually work properly this time!

Tonight will be all about writing out my final menu properly, listing out all the ingredients and wine, as well as reasoning my choice of dishes.


Some random things I learned today:

  • When rose hips are ripe, they should be soft, tender and sweet if you nibble around the sides. They shouldn’t be hard. They can also be hard to work with but if you freeze them they’re actually much easier to use.
  • Eating raw elderberries is a bad idea – you’ll end up feeling quite ill.
  • Kefir is basically sugar water that’s fermented whereas Kombucha is sweetened tea that’s fermented.
  • Some pork isn’t too easy to digest, so that’s why sauerkraut goes so well with it – the fermented food aids digestion.
  • Making homemade sausages or salami? You can buy the casings from a company called the Irish Casing Company!

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