Every year Ballymaloe closes for a few days over Christmas when the house returns to a family home and this year we had a record number of 64 family and friends for Christmas dinner.
Myrtle gives everyone a job - cooking, waitressing, making pre dinner cocktails, washing up, organising games etc.
This year Cully got the very important roll as head chef! But with several very will qualified sous chefs (including Darina) and a cocktail or two to keep things festive, it was one of the more enjoyable jobs.
November in the Ballymaloe walled garden and it's still very busy. We're busy harvesting for the kitchen - brussels sprouts, beetroot, leeks and swedes. The recent frost has improved the taste of the curly kale and cavolo nero by reducing some of the bitterness. And of course, we're still picking winter lettuce and the glasshouse has plenty of salad leaves - orientals, New Zealand spinach, claytonia and rocket.
This week we will pick the first of our beautiful Romanesco from the Ballymaloe Garden. It is a very impressive looking Vegetable from the Brassica Oleracea Species. It grows in a logarithmic Spiral and has a delicate nutty flavour. Look out for it on the menu
We are delighted to have recently opened a pop up wine shop in Brown Thomas Cork, to showcase a selection of wines from the award winning Ballymaloe wine cellar. Continuing the innovative tradition started by the late Mr Ivan Allen, when he started the Ballymaloe wine cellar almost 50 year ago, along with Jim Whelan, and the work by his grandson, Sacha Whelan. We are delighted to offer the Ballymaloe wine experience in Brown Thomas Cork, with a team from Ballymaloe, including Daphne, Nicola, Colm, and Fionn.
I just love summertime at Ballymaloe and this year’s hot summer days have been so welcomed. Would you believe, for the first time in years, there was no fire lit in the drawing room during the month of July! Being down by the swimming pool, listening to the children squealing with delight as they jumped into the water, made me smile. There is always a grandchild or even great grandchild around to entertain both the guests and staff!
Entertaining guests this summer has been easy with the good weather and more often than not this entertaining involves the guests getting involved in Ballymaloe life. Most evenings Rory Allen takes guests and friends fishing at Ballycotton in his boat “MOLLY DANIEL”.
So it’s been a while since I last updated my blog and I apologize for that. So much as happened since then. Where do I begin? After looking back at my last two posts I realized I never actually talked about what exactly I do here at Ballymaloe. My shift is split into two ( which I’m not used to but I have the afternoons to myself :) ). In the morning I go around and pick and arrange flowers into lovely clay pots for the dining rooms and the bedrooms for the guests when they arrive. In the evening I am the official “trolly dolly” as they say.
So it has been nearly four weeks now since I have arrived at Ballymaloe and I am continuing my Ireland adventure, and enjoying every second of it! This past Sunday two of my friends, Todd and JR and I went to Ballycotton to have a few drinks at the Irish pub; “The Blackbird”. I have never been to the pub before, but I have heard so much about the place from everyone, including my sister Rochelle who also worked at Ballymaloe about eight years ago, that I just had to go! The town has such a wonderful relaxing atmosphere, much like Ballymaloe House.
So it has been exactly three weeks since I have arrived here at The Ballymaloe House. I have to emphasize how exquisite and miraculous this place truly is. For a Country House hotel in the middle of the country, this place has so much history, amazing food and the people here are absolutely lovely. I was also quite surprised to see how many people working here were not from Ireland. For instance some who work here are from South Africa, Mauritius, Tanzania, France, Canada (me :)) and other places. How random is that? Only at Ballymaloe. Where else would one rather be?