This winter we got off to an early start. Christmas baking is usually in full swing by the first week of December. However this year the smell of candied peel, dried fruit and local whiskey filled the kitchen during early November too. It was all hands on deck to make the hundreds of puddings, cakes and mince pies that help make Christmas at Ballymaloe extra special. Anne, Stephan, Breda and Rebecca have been working very hard to ensure all of the Christmas baking goes to plan.
After a wonderfully busy summer at Ballymaloe House some of the front of house staff was treated to a day out! The weather was on our side so we headed off to experience East Cork's newest attraction- a guided tour of the Ballycotton Lighthouse Island.
April’s showers seem so long ago as we work in August’s dusty garden where we’re busy watering sweet peas, summer lettuce, courgettes and pumpkins. Months have flown by and the countdown has begun in earnest to the Ballymaloe Garden Festival.
Spring brought with it more fruit blossoms than any pastry chef could ever wish for. Anticipating the first Summer harvest always generates excitement in the Ballymaloe kitchen. Apart from a scant number of strawberries, the first substantial crop always comes from the green gooseberries bushes. The first small green gooseberries always have the most intense flavour. Biting into a raw berrie shocks the pallet into summer mode! Once picked the berries must be “topped and tailed”. A pleasant job for those that have time to sit in the sun.
The outdoor, heated, swimming pool on the grounds of Ballymaloe House is filled as soon as the weather gets warm enough - usually sometime in May, and emptied when it gets too chilly to swim - usually in late September.
It has a large shallow end and a separate paddling pool making it ideal for children, however, it is possible to do lengths if exercise is what you are after. It is free for residents to use.
There is no life guard at the pool so children need to be accompanied by an adult at all times.
We had a super Easter at Ballymaloe. The first wisteria blossoms opened on the front of the house indicating that Summer is on the way. Regular guests enjoyed the warm long evenings sipping pre-dinner cocktails out the front. It was a busy weekend for the Ballymaloe bar!
We had a fabulous Easter here at Ballymaloe. There were lots of activities for the children to enjoy: scavenger hunts, egg painting and Easter garden competitions and of course the annual Easter Egg Hunt!
April showers! And wind. And frost. And fog. But April days are getting longer – just in time as it’s getting very busy in the walled garden.
Ensuring the soil is healthy and fertile is a priority and so the entire garden has had a liberal sprinkling of well-rotted manure. As well as adding nitrogen, the manure increases the soil’s organic matter and keeps the gardener’s biceps in shape!