Chef, author and restaurant owner, Yotam Ottolenghi, pays tribute to Myrtle Allen and her pioneering spirit.
"It’s so hard not to fall back on the clichés when thinking about Myrtle Allen: the farmer’s wife whose pioneering spirit changed the face of Irish cuisine; the matriarch who championed locally sourced, seasonal, sustainably harvested produce at a time when such things were unheard of, let alone mainstream; someone who was handwriting daily changing menus before the world of trendy restaurants caught up.
My memories of Myrtle Allen’s Ballymaloe serve only to reinforce the clichés, I’m afraid: walled gardens and edible flowers, soda bread and best-butter heaven, chicken liver pâté and wild garlic soup, scones and elderflower jam and lemon verbena tea, wandering-around chickens and seawater-fresh air. Staying at and dining in Myrtle’s hotel allows for that very rare moment when you pause for a minute, take it all in and, all of a sudden, everything seems very okay with the world." - Yotam Ottolenghi
The Ballymaloe Cookbook by Myrtle Allen, one of Gill & Macmillan’s first cookbooks, is now revised and updated to mark the 50th anniversary of The Ballymaloe House. Available online (€22.39 & Free p&p in Ireland and UK) and in good bookstores nationwide.
Between the Covers: see more photos from the book on Facebook.