Tag Archives: Midleton

Ballymaloe Day 55: Mammy, Midleton and Munchies

After a week of no wine, I treated myself to a glass of French chardonnay last night and slept like a baby.

photo 1(36)
(Serving soufflés yesterday)

photo 2(34)
(From left to right: My godmother and Mammy!)

Up at 9am to get a few jobs out of the way, I nabbed the hen bucket and bins and wandered down to the dairy to feed the chickens. Brienne (my cheese), was there to greet me, and giving her a gentle turnover, I left her to rest.

Seeing as Mam was down for the weekend, we headed to Midleton market where we met up with a friend who had a gorgeous whippet called Minky!

photo 2(35)

Mingling through the crowds, we met up with both fellow students and locals who were enjoying the market sunshine.

After our mini-adventure, we headed over to Ballymaloe House for a spot to eat – I chose to have a ricotta and vegetable tart which was quite lovely, as well as a baked ginger cheesecake.



It’s worth heading to the house alone to see the grounds and peek inside, and because it was such a crisp but sunny day, it made it all the more enjoyable.

(The front door of Ballymaloe House)

A short spin later we arrived at Stephen Pearce pottery HQ, that’s tucked away in the Shanagarry.

For those who don’t know, his pottery is famous for its white and brown that’s decorated across bowls, jugs, cups, dishes, lamps and much more. It was great to see where it’s being made, and you would never think that a world-class potter would be hiding away in dark leaves of the Cork countryside.


To top off the day, Mam came back the cookery school where I handed off a suitcase (my personal chauffeur!), and bid her adieu – it was great to have her company as well as my godmother’s and made for a nice change to the norm.

Tonight is all about decided what menu I want to present for my final exam, and with a few ideas in mind, I’m hoping that it’ll make for a tasty presentation.

Until tomorrow folks, au revoir!

Review: Pride in local food from Sage Restaurant in Midleton

Tucked away off Main Street in Midleton is a restaurant that prides itself on sourcing local food from within a 12 Mile radius.

A party of three, we headed in from the rain for a meal that we hoped would give us the burst of energy that we so desperately needed.

Sage Restaurant
Main Street,
Co. Cork
Phone: 021 4639682

Despite having no booking, we were greeted with an infectious warmth that was echoed within the walls of Sage.

Wood and browns spilled across the restaurant floor, making the whole restaurant feel spacious yet sheltered from the elements.

Set up by Chef Kevin Aherne, the restaurant boasts an ambitious menu with descriptions of food that inspire curiosity.

Donning the walls are images of the producers they source from, with more gleaming smiles filtering through the room.

In an attempt to veer away from what I’d usually order, I decided to start with the “free-range chicken compression with burnt onion and apple caramel”.

photo 4(15)

The chicken fell away like the texture of pulled pork but with the juiciness of a chicken leg. Mixing my fork with the onion and caramel, I savoured the moment.

With mains on the way, I was eager to see what would be plated up next. Surrounding us were groups of diners and the aromas from the kitchen wafting through our seats.

Going for the more unusual dish, I chose a goat’s cheese gnocchi with a crispy egg, and expected something quite wonderful. I wasn’t disappointed.

Though the crispy egg could have been a shade crispier on one side, combining it with the cheese-infused gnocchi was such a delight that I didn’t mind.

photo 5(14)

To convince myself that it wasn’t just me, I had taste of the organic roast chicken and vegetables on my partner’s plate. Another simple success.


Unfortunately, dessert is not Sage’s strong point. As much as I love cheesecake, the one that I had was too dense to be enjoyable and sadly the crème brûlée portion was a touch too big to enjoy.


Overall, however, it’s quite tribute to Cork’s local producers though I would have loved to have seen more of them named on the menu, instead of being just featured on the walls.

Sage is a restaurant I’m still very curious about and I would love to go back again and see what else its menu has to offer. I left with a very satisfied tummy and a smile on my face.

Total: €74.40 (party of three with no wine and one starter)


Ballymaloe Day 21: Back on the ranch!

The bottle is a murky shade of green, it looks like it’s been hiding in the dark for quite a long time and in truth it has.

Back in 1999 and donning my Holy Communion dress, I was giving a rather special present of bottles of champagne with my name on them.

Sitting in a dark section of my home in Kerry and undisturbed for 15 years, this is the last bottle:


Now, I really had no idea if champagne aged well, so while dusting off the bottle I tweeted our Ballymaloe sommelier, Colm McCan to see what he thought.

(Looks like it could be safe to drink after all!)

Still unopened, we’re going to keep it for a special occasion, perhaps the end of the course, perhaps the exam results – who knows? It’s going to make an impression whatever the time!

(My collection of cookbooks back at home)

photo 1(17)
(Vintage Darina Allen and Rory O’Connell)

Waving goodbye to my bed and the cats, I made my way back to Ballymaloe with more energy than I had in a few weeks.

Before hitting Shanagarry we made a lunch pit-stop in Midleton and Sage Restaurant.

I’ve been keeping an eye on Sage for a while now, following the release of their 12 Mile video, showcasing their locally-sourced food.


With an interesting and ambitious menu, I forced myself to check out things that I wouldn’t normally order (full review on site soon).

photo 5(14)
(Goat’s Cheese gnocchi)

After a relaxing spell at Sage, we made our way through Cork’s winding country roads to the cookery school.

Flipping over Brienne (my lovely cheese) in the dairy, I trudged back to the Coach House with a spring in my step.

Looking forward to getting back in the kitchen and with chef whites freshly laundered, I’m ready to tackle week four.

Even if I make a mess of things, sure haven’t I given it a lash?!

Some of my favourite Irish food people to follow on Twitter:

Ballymaloe Day 6: No rest for the wicked

Jealous of my housemates’ lie in, I pulled myself out of bed at 6am to prepare for a day at the Farmers Market in Midleton.

Each week two students have the opportunity to volunteer at the market on the Ballymaloe Cookery School stall and I chose to give it a lash – despite my slight inability to work with numbers.

It was overall a quiet enough day, between regulars and the small crowd we didn’t sell too much but I did enjoy the experience.

photo 1(8)

photo 3(8)

photo 5(6)

Igor and Julija who work for Ballymaloe on the stall are originally from Lithuania and have been in Ireland for the best part of a decade. They’re incredibly lovely to work with and make you feel less silly when you’re unsure of what you’re doing (by the way, if you ever want a decent cake, Julija’s your woman).

photo 3(7)
(Myself and Igor, rocking the orange)

If you ever are planning to sell a product, I’d recommend checking out any market and see how they operate. Oftentimes they’re experts in selling because it’s completely their living. From simple things like the layout of the stall to pricing, to pitching, running a successful stand can take a lot of work.

I made it back to the school at about 3pm where I met my housemate, also called Julia, who was in the kitchens making wood-fired pizza. She kindly offered me a full one that she had going spare, and despite being completely wrecked, I ate the whole thing. DON’T JUDGE ME!

photo 4(7)

It’s been a bit strange today though – I feel like I have so much time when usually we just get about four hours to chill before bed.

Tomorrow there’s only one thing on the agenda: the All-Ireland Football final, and with my Kerry jersey happily sitting in my suitcase, I know where my priorities lie.

Go n-éirí go geal leis an Ríocht – Go on the Kingdom!