Ireland has THE BEST green beans in the entire world! It’s actually difficult to categorize the “Irish green beans” as beans and as vegetables. They are more like long green pieces of sweet delicious candy!
This is not a matter of personal opinion, it is a fact!
I have never seen green beans like these in any grocery store or farmer’s market in Arizona. Never!
I searched for images on Google by typing in “long, wide, flat, best green beans in the world.” What you see above, is what came up.
Yes, I believe that these are the beans. See how flat and wide they are? Since there is no point of reference, it’s hard to tell how long they are, but I still think this may be them. I’m going to order some seeds and try to grow them for myself.
When our little group of six began the hands-on portion of the day-long cooking class at Ballymaloe Cookery School, we were thrilled to learn that one of the four recipes we’d be tackling (out of the 18 recipes) was the Gremolata Green Beans.
We prepped the beans, then dropped them in the boiling water to blanch. After they were rinsed and then spread out on a platter to be “set aside” while we made the gremolata, we would snag one or two (or ten) every time the instructor turned away. Exactly like little girls, sneaking candy! Well, except for the Irish young woman in our class, Amie. Somehow Amie restrained herself, but we five Americans – thieves. Common thieves were we.
Above is our instructor with two of the bean-stealing “little girls” from my group.
The beans were meant to be shared with the other 30 students for our evening meal. We didn’t care, we wanted to snack on them and have them all to ourselves!
In the background of the photo above are some of the “unfortunates” who didn’t get as many green beans as they were entitled to. In the foreground – our gremolata prep. The beans are either all gone or just out of view.
I tried to recreate the recipe at home, using our regular old sub-standard, nothing-like-candy green beans, and they were OK. I’m certain that to most uneducated palates, they would be declared delicious and these poor unfortunate “don’t-know-any-betters” would be thrilled with the dish.
My husband, son and dad thought they were fabulous. But I know better. Of course, I share the recipe with you below.
My new quest is to get my hands, and teeth, onto the real deal. If you have ever seen, or more importantly know, where to get long, flat and wide green bean candy, please let me know!
Allow me to apologize beforehand for the out of focus photos I took of the green beans during the cooking class.
I may have been high on the all the green bean candy I ate and my hands must have been shaky. That must be it – I know you wouldn’t challenge my excellent photography talents!
July 30, 2014 No Comments
Dave, Connor and I spent an hour or so walking around a very small part of the Ballymaloe House grounds.
We searched out and found the chickens.
Hundreds of chickens who were so happy and content with the big bins of fresh kitchen scraps.
Plus oyster, clam and mussel shells from last night’s dinner.
Chickens need the calcium and the grit from oyster shells. If you want to learn more about the reason, go HERE.
As we were walking towards them, we noticed a couple old trailers on the other side of the fence from the “chicken yard.”
Guess what the trailers are used for?
How brilliant is that?
There was a gentleman in a little red golf cart who was collecting the eggs. All he had to do was open the trailer door, step in and gather the eggs for The Yeats Room and the school.
There are no eggs in this healthy and scrumptious salad recipe from the Ballymaloe Cookery School. It’s a twist on the traditional American Succotash. I love the addition of quinoa and the change from lima beans to chickpeas.
July 29, 2014 2 Comments
Ballymaloe Cookery School, Organic Farm & Gardens in East Cork is a magical place to go for an afternoon cookery class, a weekend cooking course, or the three-month professional course.
Additionally if you want a complete experience – you must stay at the Ballymaloe House, their hotel just 2 miles down the road. Myrtle Allen is the matriarch of the hotel and of the elegant dining room, The Yeats Room, where wonderful simple, classic food is served. Such as elegant salads, super fresh fish and shellfish, outstanding roast meats and smoked fish, and divine farm-fresh vegetables.
Myrtle Allen (born 1924, Tivoli, Cork, County Cork) is “as important to her country’s cuisine as Alice Waters was to America’s.”
In 1943, Myrtle Hill married Ivan Allen, who was working at the 400 acre farm, Kinoith, in Shanagarry. In 1947, the couple bought Ballymaloe House and the surrounding farm and raised their six children there. Ivan managed the fruit and vegetable farm and worked on Kinoith, while Myrtle took care of the children and the massive house. Later, in 1958, Ivan Allen inherited Kinoith from Wilson Strangman, the deceased owner.
Myrtle had an abundance of fresh products in her kitchen. Under the guidance of Ivan, an avid gourmet, she learned to cook by taking cookery classes in the College of Commerce (designed by her famed architect father) in nearby Cork and by self-training with her ever growing collection of cookery books.
In 1964, Myrtle decided to start a restaurant in her own dining room she named The Yeats Room. Her philosophy of using local fresh ingredients and changing her menu daily to reflect the best offerings of the day and of the season was completely revolutionary at the time.
Later, because of new liquor laws, she converted ten of the unused rooms in the home into rooms for a guesthouse, which grew into the hotel Ballymaloe House is today.
By the 1970′s she and her sous-chef, Darina O’Connell, started giving courses in cooking. In 1983, Darina, by then married to Myrtle’s son Tim Allen, and her brother, Rory O’Connell, moved the cookery classes to Kinoith and co-founded Ballymaloe Cookery School. Darina Allen is now a well-known celebrity chef, cookery book author and pioneer in Ireland of the slow food movement.
If you want to be truly inspired and become as in awe of this place and these people as I am, go to THIS PAGE and watch the “Myrtle Allen A Life In Food” video. You will learn so much more than I can share about Ballymaloe and learn how and why it is the unique and fascinating place that it is.
July 28, 2014 1 Comment
What does this plate say to you?
To me – it screams SUMMER! All those bright and colorful veggies, grilled to perfection!
You can use your outdoor grill or a grill pan to make it. I chose the grill pan … for obvious reasons.
After looking over the post, you almost don’t need a recipe. I took so many photos of each step – so as long as you know that you need enough olive oil, salt and pepper to coat everything, you might want to skip the reading and just use this as a pictorial instructions. Enjoy.
July 26, 2014 2 Comments
We visited several castles while in Ireland.
It’s easy to do.
They are in nearly every town and around every corner.
We stayed at some.
We just visited and toured others.
July 25, 2014 1 Comment
Another one of our day-trips was to the beautiful and very popular Cliffs of Moher.
The Cliffs of Moher are located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region in County Clare, Ireland. They rise 120 meters (390 ft) above the Atlantic Ocean at Hag’s Head, and reach their maximum height of 214 meters (702 ft) just north of O’Brien’s Tower.
The cliffs rank among the top visited tourist sites in Ireland, and receive almost one million visitors a year.
July 24, 2014 3 Comments
I don’t think I’ve mentioned just how gloriously beautiful Ireland is. Seriously, it is beyond words. Neither photos nor waxing poetic can do it an ounce of justice.
I do know that the words that will immediately pop into my mind every time I think back on our time in Ireland are:
Endless fields of sheep and Jersey cows.
100′s of shades of green.
Rows of rock walls.
Immensely kind, hospitable, gracious Irish people.
Did I mention Green?
More rock walls.
So very many Rock Walls!
One thing I know for sure, the Irish really know how to stack rocks and make sturdy and good looking rock walls!
Not a drop of cement or mortar needed!
July 23, 2014 3 Comments
In a mere 48 hours we went from feeling like royalty, living in the lap of luxury …. to common Irish peasants, ready to harvest potatoes.
This is where we thought we were staying. Isn’t it stunning?
We booked a two-room cottage next to Adare Manor. This was because two adjacent rooms in the actual Manor were out of our comfortable price range. Way out of our price range!
For some reason, I was under the impression that the cottages were near the Manor and that we would have full access to the Manor itself. Turns out they were more than a mile away. No matter, we didn’t end up in a cottage anyway.
When we checked in, the woman at the reception desk said, “We’ve upgraded you to a villa.”
How wonderful is that? We were upgraded in Dublin to the Princess Grace Suite and now we were being upgraded from a cottage to a villa!
Even “Ugly Dougly” – as I’ve dubbed him – appeared to be happy for us!
July 22, 2014 3 Comments
We visited Kylemore Abby in Connemara, County Galway.
While the former castle turned Abby was wonderful and impressive, it was the walled Victorian gardens that really caught my fancy.
Kylemore Castle was built as a private home for the family of Mitchell Henry, a wealthy doctor from London whose family was involved in textile manufacturing in Manchester, England. Construction began in 1867, and took one hundred men four years to complete.
Other buildings include a Gothic cathedral and family mausoleum.
The castle was sold to the Duke and Duchess of Manchester in 1909, who resided there for several years before being forced to sell the house and grounds because of gambling debts.
In 1920 the Irish Benedictine Nuns purchased the Abbey castle and lands after they were forced to flee Ypres, Belgium during World War I. The nuns, who had been based in Ypres for several hundred years, had been bombed out of their Abbey during World War I.
July 21, 2014 3 Comments
We really didn’t want to leave the luxury of the Princess Grace suite at The Shelbourne, but that’s what we had to do on Wednesday morning.
We loaded up the rental car and began our drive across the center of Ireland, from Dublin, on the east coast, to Ballynahinch Castle on the west coast. It’s about a 4 hour drive, though we took a little longer, stopping in the center of the country, in the town of Athlone.
There, we toured the medieval Athlone Castle along the Shannon River.
While the boys played “lawn” chess on the top level of the castle, I was more focused on what was in the background.
I visited the beautiful Church of Saints Peter and Paul.
Beautiful, inside and out.
It began to rain, so back in the car we went.
We followed the road markers to our destination, turning down dense tree lined lanes until the castle rose out of nowhere in front of us.
July 18, 2014 4 Comments