The Ballymaloe 3 month cookery course (sighs longingly). That’s where I really want to be… But in the absence of a kindly benefactor willing to pay for the cost of the course and accommodation, along with my bills and loan repayments for 3 months I’ve had to make do with the Ballymaloe Cookery Course book. Some would say its a poor proxy, but I get along with what I have available to me, and I’ve gotten some mileage out of this bad boy…
Weighing in at over 600 pages the book is full of delicious recipes, lovely pictures and helpful advice from Darina Allen herself. The book is pretty comprehensive and has a hefty contents listing. To my eyes it covers the basics in great detail as well as building you up to finer and more complicated things! Everything is explained clearly and comprehensively. I’ve never had any difficulty in interpreting instructions, even on the more demanding recipes.
I’ve road tested the recipes on several different dinner parties, always with resounding success. I think the high point so far has to have been the meringue roulade with mango and passion fruit sauce. Although Tojo’s chicken korma went down a storm over Christmas with my family.
The thing I like most about the book is the fact that you’re given a basic master recipe, for example a carrot soup. Then you’re given variations on the master recipe – in the case of the carrot soup there are 5 variations you can try in addition to the master recipe.
The book is also peppered with little how-to sections. Like how to prepare a leg of lamb for roasting or how to cook beetroot! These sections are very informative and also provide clarity to the recipes which follow!
I love the concept of this book. It breaks out a lot of the course you cover during the 12 month certificate course in Ballymaloe so it does broaden your repertoire of recipes. I think it makes a wonderful all-rounder book and it’s the book I always go back to when I’m creating a menu for a dinner party!