I'm delighted to introduce Maggie Beer as my next guest blogger. In this entry Maggie shares with us the excitement of a family wedding, the achievement of launching a life changing foundation and also tells us how she is looking forward to returning to Ballymaloe for this year's Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine:
‘Life is hectic yet life is good’, according to one of Australia’s favourite cooks, author and food manufacturer, Maggie Beer - who heads to the Kerrygold Ballymaloe Festival.
We were pretty busy as a family leading up to Easter with our youngest daughter Elli getting married Easter Saturday. Elli, also called ‘Rommel’ by some, was as an event organiser with her Function Centre at the farm and is very hands on. It runs in the family with Saskia and I taking on much of the cooking so it meant a few days of frantic preparation.
Whilst Sassie was leading the charge with the hors oeuvres and the first course, I was left with the supper. As is usual I over catered on my side; cooking 30kg of venison ragout with polenta; three sorrel tarts because that’s all the sorrel in the garden and seven kale; currant and pine nut tarts to make sure we had a balance to Saskia’s beautiful charcuteries, pork pies and glazed hams. I have to add that it was very handy that with the Farm Shop being closed Good Friday, so we had two kitchens to work in - all with the help of Elli’s bridal party. Not quite the norm I expect but though it might have been exhausting for this old body, the help of all the girls in the kitchen and the boys cleaning up made for huge fun on the day. It was a casual, beautiful joyful day for everyone.
Lastly, we have just picked our Pink Lady Apples for our sparkling juice. In between all the festivities I’ve signed off on our pear cider ready to bottle and next week our apple cider will be in its final stages. The orchard is almost bare now except for the windfalls and it is the Valley after all and nothing is wasted. Colin came home yesterday and said that the competition was on for these. He’d found our vineyard contractors Barry, Lyn and Sam collecting the apples off the ground for their huge worm farm where Barry uses the worm juice for the vineyard and he suggested they’d have to be quick because Kingsley, another contractor dear to our heart, would be out there soon picking up windfalls to hand-feed to his cattle. And then if any were left overs, Colin and Joy would be out there to pick them up for their pigs. How important it is that we live this cycle.
Tasting Australia began this week and as the Patron I seem to have found myself involved in so many different festivities but I always look forward to it. It's big day for me particularly on Tuesday where I announced my Foundation for aged care. Please check out the Foundation website www.maggiebeerfoundation.org.au. There will be lots to tell you about Tasting Australia but if you are in Adelaide be sure to look up their website as it goes right through until 4th May and there is really something for everyone.
Just a week after Tasting Australia finishes we leave for Europe where I’m so excited about being at Ballymaloe in County Cork again. I have such wonderful memories of my first visit there some years ago and just can’t wait to go back again. Life is certainly full.