Ballymaloe Week 2 & 3

Time has again flown by here and I have made little progress in organizing some recipes from our experiences at school.  My opportunities to connect to the internet have been seriously hampered, however I’m optimistic and will post something well worth cooking a la Darina Allen soon – promise.  Until then, with much head banging, labeling to no avail, crashing, intermittent connectivity I bring you a seriously random selection of week 2 and 3 at Ballymaloe.  Sláinte!!

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Whew at Ballymaloe!

It has been a whirl wind lately.  I finally made it to Ballymaloe Cooking School in Ireland!  Last time I tried to make it over for their 3 month course a volcano erupted in Iceland – that little devil Eyjafjallajökull – yes, it is now a curse word in many parts of the world.  I made a pact with myself that I would faithfully update my blog and emails daily, but have failed miserably. Unfortunately there’s no internet in my cottage and we’ve been going flat out at the school.  We have survived the first hectic week which has been packed with information from short pastry making to fire safety.  I hope to get a little more organized and include some of the amazingly delicious recipes soon, but for now a very brief glimpse of arriving, learning and cooking:

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Ruby’s Herb Laced Lamb Chops

Sulking in the Horshoe Pit

Our little Ruby has been down in the dumps the past few days.  Very uncharacteristic of our happy go lucky Brit.  Most days she tends to go on lengthy adventures throughout our farm and neighboring fields, mostly sniffing, sometimes hunting and eating who knows what.  She doesn’t have a very discriminating palate.  I could relate some pretty disgusting stories…but being a G rated food type blog, we’ll keep it more chipper.  One thing that does get Ruby back in the saddle are chops!  When we barbecue lamb chops, she knows there is likely a little treat in it for her.  So here’s to you Ruby girl.

parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

Although it may be sweltering in some parts of our world, here on the island in the Pacific Northwest it’s barely breaking 70° during the day, and in the evening we’re dropping down to the 40’s.   Sometimes it’s difficult to whip together a light, summery meal for dinner when we are in our flannel PJ’s and putting wood in the stove.

serves 4

8 lamb loin chops about 1″ thick, trimmed of excess fat

1/4 cup each of chopped parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

1/4 cup of canola oil (or other high temp oil)

Salt and pepper

Prepare or preheat barbecue for a medium-high heat, about 350°.  In a small bowl blend oil and herbs.  Salt and pepper chops and rub the herb mixture on all sides.  When the grill is to temp, sear both sides of the chops about 2-3 minutes.  Continue cooking until desired doneness.

Alternatively, preheat oven to 400°.   In a heavy bottom – oven proof pan, sear chops on both sides until browned, about 3 minutes a side.  Place in oven for an additional 5-8 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145° for medium rare.


Ruby Tuesday

Songwriters: Jagger, Mick;Richards, Keith

She would never say where she came from
Yesterday don't matter if it's gone
While the sun is bright or in the darkest night
No one knows, she comes and goes

Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you
When you change with ev'ry new day
Still I'm gonna miss you

Don't question why she needs to be so free
She'll tell you it's the only way to be
She just can't be chained to a life where nothing's gained
And nothing's lost, at such a cost

Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you
When you change with ev'ry new day
Still I'm gonna miss you

"There's no time to lose", I hear her say
Cash your dreams before they slip away
Dying all the time lose your dreams and you
Will lose your mind, ain't life unkind?

Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you
When you change with ev'ry new day
Still I'm gonna miss you

Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you
When you change with ev'ry new day
Still I'm gonna miss you


Upright & Outtasite Cornish Game Hen

'juiced' and ready to cook


Crispy on the Outside & Juicy on the Inside

Beer Can Chicken has been around for a while and is still very popular – the reason being it’s a fantastic way to prepare the humble bird or it’s relation the cornish game hen.  We use game hens when we cook for two.  The method is the same with only a few tweaks.  The most obvious one being the size of the can that the bird ‘sits’ on.  A normal beer or soda can is perfect for most chickens, but we found a smaller can such as an energy drink or cold coffee drink can works well with the smaller game hens.


serves 2


1 cornish game hen, cleaned inside and out

1 can sized to fit the bottom hole of the bird

2 tablespoons light olive oil

1 tablespoon herbs de provence

2 teaspoons coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Preheat oven to 350° or prepare grill with lid to 350°.  If using an oven, move the rack low enough to accommodate the upright (and Outtasite) bird on the can.  Drain the liquid from the can and rinse.  Fill the can only halfway with water, beer, or soda.  The flavor of the liquid is pretty much indiscernible after cooking.  Place the can on a small sheet pan. Dry the hen inside and out with paper towels and tuck the wingtips behind the back.  Rub oil on the outside and season with herbs and spices.  Carefully mount the bird on top of the half filled can.  For the oven, keep the bird on the sheet pan to cook.  For the grill, place the hen with the can directly on the BBQ grill and cover with a lid.

Roast or grill for approximately 45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°.


Spicy Mango Wings & Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

A few bottled products are used for these dishes, not necessarily as shortcuts-although welcome, but because they add a truly unique flavor boost!


serves 4 as main or 6 as appetizer

For the Wings:

8 chicken wings

5 ounces of PickaPeppa Spicy Mango Sauce (not so spicy actually)

1 teaspoon coarse salt

Preheat (toaster) oven to 350°. Place wings in a sealable container, add sauce and salt and mix thouroughly.  Let marinate for 1-3 hours in the refrigerator. Spray a sheet pan with non-stick spray and line with foil.  Spray the top of the foil with non-stick spray as well.  Place the wings on the sheet pan so they don’t touch.  Bake wings for about 3o minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare or preheat the BBQ for a 2 station area – one at about 300° and the other about 350°.  Your shrimp will cook over the 300° and your chicken will brown over the 350° area.


For the Shrimp:

8 extra large or jumbo shrimp (26/30 or 21/25)

8 strips of bacon, thick cut

1 tablespoon of maple syrup

salt and pepper

8 toothpicks, soaked in water


Preheat (toaster) oven to 400°.  Place a wire rack into a rimmed pan and lay the strips of bacon on the rack.  Bake the bacon for 10 minutes.  Remove pan from oven.  Add a grind or two of pepper.  Turn bacon over and brush with maple syrup, adding more pepper.  Bake for another 3 minutes. Place bacon maple side up on paper towels.  The bacon should be soft, pliable and just about cooked through.  Cool.

Remove the shells and de-vine shrimp.  Season with salt and pepper.  Wrap each shrimp with maple bacon and secure with a soaked toothpick.


When your BBQ is ready, place the wings over your hotter station and the shrimp on the cooler one.  Watch, and turn each piece so that it browns but doesn’t burn, moving if necessary.  Cook for about 5-10 minutes.  Use Patak’s® Medium Mango Relish as a dip for both the wings and the shrimp.

far tastier than it appears! Patak's Mango

The Patak’s® Mango Relish medium is actually pretty darn spicy so a little can go a long way.  It’s intense and very unique flavor adds an amazing dimension to many dishes.

#mce_temp_url#

#mce_temp_url#

Fusion Roll

a mixedsoup creation

You can whip this appetizer up before you can say ‘Kanpai!’

makes 24 mini-rolls


8 ounces of cold smoked salmon lox

4 ounces quality cream cheese

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

1/2 teaspoon lemongrass, peeled and finely grated

caviar, tobiko, wasabi paste, sriracha‘ for garnish

If necessary, cut the lox into smaller pieces about 1 1/2 inches wide by 4 inches long or smaller if preferred.  In a bowl combine ginger, lemongrass and cream cheese until completely blended.  You may want the cream cheese to be closer to room temperature for easier blending.  Spread approximately 1 teaspoon of the filling on each lox piece, leaving a small border so the filling doesn’t ooze out when rolled.  Top with a garnish.

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Summer Splash Limoncello – the ‘Quick’ Version


So delightfully fresh, so deceptively strong - Salute!

‘Limoncello-ians’ all have their special spin on how to make the best concoction, but this particular version is comparatively quick and straight forward – still very buonissimo!

(this lemon liqueur takes time to ferment; you’ll need 2 weeks of down time)

Pour eight cups of good vodka into a 16 cup capacity container with tight fitting lid.  Peel the rind from approximately 6 lemons, taking care not to include the white ‘pithy’ part of the fruit (pith is very bitter) – a vegetable peeler may work best.  Once you have peeled 1 cup of rind, plop them into your container of vodka.  Give the container a swirl or two and place the lid on the top.  Keep this mixture out of direct light and in a cool place (basement like – not fridge like).  Do not open the lid during the 2 weeks so the fermentation is faster and more consistent.

Once your 2 weeks are up, remove all the rind and loose bits from the container using a long fork or pigtail (or strain through a cheesecloth).  Make a simple syrup using a 1:1 ratio for a sweet mix or a 1:2 mix for less sweet (our preference).  For a 1:2 mix, pour 3 cups of white granulated sugar into a pot and and add 6 cups of water.  On medium heat dissolve the sugar completely.  Let cool and add the sugar water to your vodka mix.  Stir to combine and chill in the freezer for about an hour.  Serve in small chilled glasses.  Delizioso!

A friendly word of caution: You can quickly go from sipping judiciously while chatting politely to singing ‘That’s Amore’ at the top of your lungs while your hosts drag you to the door.