Friday 27 March 2020

Forage to Feast

At the end of each twelve week course, our students at Ballymaloe Cookery School put on a pop up dinner as a fundraiser to support the East Cork Slow Food Education Project.

The theme for this one was Forage to Feast: an evening of wild eating to celebrate the vast array of local and wild foods we are lucky enough to have on our doorstep here in East Cork, even in early March.

The evening is a collaboration of the student's talents - cooking, presentation, serving...and even illustrating.

The cafe was set up with evergreens and candles...

The double sided menu was created by @sievesandspoons

And the fun began... guests were greeted with drinks and live music...

The evening started with homemade creamy labneh cheese, served with foraged wild garlic, almonds and honey, fermented crackers and beetroot puree. And a mushroom and fiddlehead fern quiche.

As well as a whole host of ferments and pickles...

This was followed by a rock pool broth of fresh, local hake and shellfish, with sea spinach.

The main course was a locally reared loin of lamb with wild garlic, accompanied by stuffed butternut squash, kale puree, carrots and a rich potato gratin.

Dessert was a fresh, pink rhubarb tart with a vibrant lemon and ginger ice cream. And for petit fours we had these magical little woodland meringues, sweet geranium shortbread with crystalised primroses and a rich beetroot and chocolate bake.

If this has whetted your appetite for foraged foods, why not join me at Ballymaloe Cookery School on Saturday 25th April 2020.

Locally foraged foods have been an important part of the menu at Ballymaloe House for over 40 years, and we continue the tradition at the Cookery School. 

This one day course can literally be life changing as it teaches you how to identify and enjoy nature’s treasures: free ingredients that are fresher, tastier and much more nutritious than virtually anything you will ever find in the shops. This course is suitable for professional chefs, home cooks, keen foragers or anyone wanting to learn about sourcing and cooking with wild food for sheer pleasure.
  • How to identify dozens of edible wild plants, flowers, seaweeds and shellfish in season, foraged from hedgerows, fields and the nearest beach. A walk in the countryside will never be the same again. Where you previously saw weeds, you’ll now see something to eat.
  • How to prepare and cook the wild food that’s been gathered, while maintaining the benefits of the vitamins, minerals and trace elements that are lacking in so many processed foods. Depending on the season, this could include delicious soups and tasty salads featuring nettles, seaweed, samphire, strand cabbage, wild garlic and purslane...
  • Take a walk with me, an enthusiastic and experienced forager, to search for wild food in the countryside. Before even leaving the front steps of the Cookery School, your eyes will be opened see five edible wild plants, reinforcing how much natural abundance is available to those who know what to look for 
  • Two demonstration sessions, showing how to cook the food you’ve foraged, with overhead mirrors and two monitors showing close-up handiwork. Teachers share a wealth of knowledge through their expert tips and techniques.