In the sleepy little town of Shanagarry, nestled on the Irish coastline of County Cork, is a place called Ballymaloe - you've likely never heard of it, but let me assure you - it is culinary heaven on earth. Founded in the 1980's by the phenomenal chef / teacher / rockstar matriarch Darina Allen, the Ballymaloe Cooking School is the holy grail of farm to table culinary education.
Located on a 100 acre organic farm, at Ballymaloe nearly all of the fresh ingredients used in the kitchen - from veggies, to berries, raw milk, eggs, and meat - come directly from the farm. This is a cooking school where you go to learn more than just fancy knife skills. Students are expected to pitch in to keep the farm running - harvesting fresh greens for the daily salads, collecting kitchen scraps for compost, milking the cows and making butter to be patted on steaming loaves of just baked bread.
Back in the Spring of 2013, I spent up my entire life savings to spend three intense, delicious, and utterly life changing months at Ballymaloe, where I lived, worked, cooked, and ate copious amounts of Irish butter alongside 50 other students from all over the world. Ballymaloe is truly a family affair - Darina's husband Tim, her brother Rory O'Connell, and daughter-in-law Rachel Allen (all incredible chefs and teachers in their own right) are each deeply involved with the teaching and the day to day operations on the farm and in the kitchens. It is the unending energy and passion for for food + farming from all of the teachers at Ballymaloe that inspired me to start Farmbelly cooking classes!
In honor of all things Ballymaloe, I'm sharing a recipe that embodies the farm to table ethos that makes the school so transformative. Today, we are talking mayonnaise. Yes, you heard me right - mayonnaise. Did you know that real, homemade mayonnaise is actually YELLOW? If you're like me, you may associate mayo with the white gloopy gunk that comes out of a jar and has been sitting in your fridge for goodness knows how long. Alas! The combination of farm fresh eggs, a bit of vinegar and mustard, and slowly drizzled olive oil, all whisked together with gusto, creates an all together different thing that is truly a revelation. PLUS, it takes all of 5 minutes to make. So friends... go grab some farm fresh eggs, get out your whisk, stretch those arm muscles, and get busy!
- 2 egg yolks | from the freshest eggs possible
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon French mustard
- 2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup sunflower oil (or any neutral oil)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Put the egg yolks into a wide pyrex bowl with the mustard, salt and the white wine vinegar. Put the two types of oil together into a measuring cup. Take a whisk in one hand and the oil in the other and drip the oil onto the egg yolks, drop by drop whisking at the same time.
- Within a minute you will notice that the mixture is beginning to thicken. When this happens you can add the oil a little faster, but not too fast or it will suddenly curdle, as the egg yolks can only absorb the oil at a certain pace.
- Taste and add a little more seasoning and vinegar if necessary. Enjoy as is, or add some minced garlic, fresh herbs, spices, etc for endless aioli possibilities!