The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

A good Christmas and an inspirational cookery book


Photo: Ballymaloe Cookery Course

Photo: Ballymaloe Cookery Course

We had a very good, enjoyable and peaceful Christmas. Seraphina hosted two lunches, one on Christmas Day and the second one was yesterday. My poor mum was ill over Christmas so we celebrated Boxing Day a day late so that she could join in the fun. My sister is a very good cook and extremely independent. It was bliss to leave all the cooking in her expert hands.

Danny and I are not really turkey fans but Seraphina’s Bronze feathered free range turkey was delicious. Moist and full of flavour. A real eye opener – turkey can be succulent after all. As she didn’t want the leftovers we were presented with a not for Min Pins doggy bag of turkey. It’s in the fridge, waiting to be devilled and the rest turned into cream of turkey soup. Watch this space.

Seraphina gave me Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course for Christmas. This is an updated edition and packed with tempting recipes and inspiration. Danny was happily wrapped around it most of Christmas Day. I managed to wrench it from him on our return home. If you could only buy one cookery book this year this is the one that we would recommend. It’s so weighty that it would alternate as a good door stop when not in use.

Apart from doorstop duties and a host of mouth watering recipes, the Ballymaloe Cookery Course covers the 100 tutorials that you would be given if you attended the three month course at the world famous Ballymaloe Cookery School. At the moment taking part on this course can only be a dream for me but I’m hoping that I can bone up at home and increase my repertoire and cookery skills this year.

Before Christmas I was so busy stocking up our online shop that I didn’t have time for much cooking. I also felt hugely uninspired on the culinary front. Now I can’t wait to try some new dishes and techniques!

Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery course is available from The Book Depository and Amazon but it is much cheaper from The Book People (if you live in Europe) at only £9.99 (plus £1.99 P&P)  the RRP is £30.00.

  Leave a reply


  1. Sarah Gant

    Rats! The book people only delivery to UK and Ireland, not France, so it’ll have to be Amazon, which seems to be cheaper than the book depository at the moment, even considering the free postage. I’d also recommend Abebooks to everyone as they have lots of good second hand books (includng cookery ones) from all over the place, with reasonable postage. It’s a good green ‘re-use’ option but unfortunately they don’t have a listing for The Ballymaloe cookery course at the moment 🙁

  2. Merry Christmas Fiona and Danny, I have this book already and love it. I ordered a Turkey butterfly from my local butcher on the market – and had to do a mad dash to collect it a day earlier than ordered when I made an early dart for home to avoid the weather – it was the most succulent turkey we have ever had and was a fraction of the price of the Bronze my mum ordered last year. Plus no carcass to get rid of so perfect given the snowy conditions we have had. In fact, we cut it in half and froze the second breast so we wouldn’t have to eat turkey for days.

  3. I was given the Darina Allen book a couple of Christmases ago, and it is wonderful – a real must-have. I’m sure you will both thoroughly enjoy it. Regarding turkey, my husband always pleads for turkey when I suggest duck or a goose as an alternative. For the last 3 years I’ve brined the turkey for a day or two as set out in the Nigella Christmas book. It makes a world of difference – even last year’s frozen supermarket-bought bird was tender and succulent. And for some reason, brining reduces the cooking time quite substantially. I can’t recommend this method highly enough. We finished off the last of this year’s leftovers last night – tagliatelle with mushrooms and turkey in a cream and white wine sauce. Delicious!

  4. Cooking classes would make a very fun gift. I’d love to go to one in France or Italy. I’m glad your Christmas was a happy one! I also hope your mum heals well and quickly!

  5. I agree about turkey. I always disliked it but this year my daughter scored a free-range, organic, heritage turkey from the farm where she works. It was delicious with none of the peculiar off-flavor that makes commercial turkey unpalatable. I wonder what they do wrong.

  6. My friends daughter went to Ballymaloe to do the cookery school and loved every minute. It cost an arm and a leg, but she didn’t want to come home! It was in lieu of going to university; she is very dyslexic, and that was never going to work for her. She now has a job at a restaurant in a nearby town and is very happy. And a very good cook/trainee chef! A DIY course through the book should be good.

    I got Sandor Katz’ ‘Wild Fermentation’ for Christmas, which I’m looking forward to reading properly- I’ve only had time to skim through it at the moment.

  7. kimchapman

    thanks Fiona, book ordered, can’t wait!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,274,622 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2024 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder

Skip to toolbar