Friday 29 June 2012

From Virgin to Veteran

Sam Stern's new cook book From Virgin to Veteran has just arrived on my desk, a slick hardback choc full of easy recipes to inspire confidence. Sam did the 12 week Certificate course in September 2008, this is his sixth cookbook in five years, he's just 20 - how about that!

I'm inordinately proud of 'my babies' now scattered all over the world achieving on all different levels. At this stage, 12 past students have published books, in some cases they have several to their name and an accompanying TV series.

Gillian Berwick (September 1985)
Rachael Allen (January 1990)
Clodagh McKenna (January 2000)
Catherine Fulvio (January 2000)
Thomasina Miers (January 2002)
Stevie Parle (January 2002)
James Ramsden (September 2004)
Tiffany Goodall (September 2004)
Lily Higgins (April 2007)
Sophie Morris (April 2008)

Other books are in the pipeline as we speak, I'll keep you posted.

Product DetailsProduct Details

Here's my cookbook!Product Details

Thursday 21 June 2012

A little background...

We live in the middle of a 100 acre organic farm close to the sea near Ballycotton in East Cork. It's a mixed farm with some cattle, a few heritage pigs, several flocks of hens and three Jersey cows which we milk every morning so we can have fresh unpasteurised milk for ourselves, our children, grandchildren and the students who come to the Ballymaloe Cookery School from all over the world. We also buy some organic milk for those who'd rather have it pasteurised.

We feel very strongly about the importance of raw milk from a clean well managed herd for our health so we sell a small quantity of milk and our natural yoghurt from our farm shop just outside the village of Shanagarry as well as freshly picked organic vegetables and herbs from the gardens and greenhouse. It's a fantastic time of the year on a farm and despite the extraordinary weather we have an abundance of vegetables, salad leaves and herbs - broad beans, tiny beets, ruby chard, spinach, radishes........

The first crop of carrots are almost finished and the peas came and went in almost ten days, we simply couldn't keep up with them. We ate them raw and cooked in every possible way, in risottos, salads, soups...... The grandchildren had wonderful time in the green houses picking them straight off the vines a joy to see.

Thursday 14 June 2012

A blog at last, well almost!

I've been wanting to write a blog for years but simply couldn't seem to get started, a bit ridiculous considering I write a weekly column in the Weekend section in the Examiner. But it's even more bizarre than that because I never learned to type, all my books were written in my scrawly longhand and then typed by my unfortunate secretaries, corrected, retyped and on and on and on......

Consequently, I had a major block about any kind of technology but as I travelled particularly in the US I felt increasingly embarrassed to have to admit that I was a technophobe.

The ultimate proposterous situation occurred when I was scheduled to appear on Martha Stewart Kitchen, live. Her research team sent a list of questions to Sharon at the Cookery School, she forwarded them to my hotel who delivered the email to my bedroom. When I arrived back I tried to telephone the TV station, I could only get an answering machine, by this stage Sharon in Ireland had gone home for the day so I was going to have to wait for her come in next morning to dictate my answers for her to send to Martha Stewart, problem was it would be too late, I'd already be in the studio. Even I could see that this situation was beyond ridiculous - this was the turning point!

On my return I asked for an iPad for my birthday and the rest is history. It's been and still is a slow and painful process. At first a short email would take me at least 20 mins to do and then I would somehow manage to loose it and be totally traumatised by the experience. I felt like throwing my hat at it several times but then a pal suggested I type everything in Notes initially so I couldn't lose it - another big break through . I'm still very slow and still reach for the pen more often than my iPad but I'm working on it and this, my very first post marks another milestone for me.