Do’s & Don’ts of Dining at Ballymaloe House whilst Living with COVID19

Like so many of our local hospitality businesses in East Cork, Ballymaloe House has had to reinvent the way we operate under the current COVID19 restrictions.  Safety is our top priority and maintaining the same comforts of ‘Old World’ hospitality, whilst serving delicious Farm to Fork seasonal menus is a close second.  To simplify how we are now operating, please see below 11 DO’s and DON’TS of dining at Ballymaloe House during COVID19. 

For more information, Ballymaloe House is now offering an A la Carte lunch menu from Thursday to Saturday.  For all our opening times and menu samples visit www.ballymaloe.ie and to book a table call 021 465 2531.

DO please bring your mask.  You will not be asked to wear them when seated at your table (for obvious reasons).  You are however, required to wear your mask when shown to your table and if you leave your table at any stage during your meal. 

DON’T worry… your safety and the safety of our staff is imperative to us.  We are lucky enough to have many small dining rooms at Ballymaloe House, plenty of sanitiser available and have fully implemented Failte Ireland’s Covid19 Safety Charter.  

DO limit your table number to one household only.

DON’T expect to mingle amongst other tables.  Sorry, for everyone’s safety it is not currently permitted. 

DO wash and / or sanitise your hands regularly.  We have plenty of sanitiser available throughout Ballymaloe House.  

DON’T arrive late.  At Ballymaloe House we can allow 30 minutes in the Drawing Room or Conservatory before you are seated in the dining room to enjoy a pre-lunch or dinner drink.  

DO expect your very own single use menu.  Our menus are always written daily based on the availability of seasonal produce.  They were once in reusable menu folders.  A dining keepsake we would encourage you to take home. 

DON’T forget to make your reservation in advance.  Due to COVID restrictions our booking numbers have been significantly reduced to ensure social distancing regulations.

DO pay by card where possible please.  Our welcome desk has been installed with a screen, our staff wear masks and surfaces are regularly sanitised. 

DON’T expect to stay out late.  

DO keep your receipt – we are a registered Failte Ireland Stay and Spend scheme venue and you will be entitled to a 20% tax rebate (from 1st October). 

And if you are staying home, now is the time to forage for some delicious Blackberries. With this recipe you can bring a little bit of Ballymaloe into your own home: 

Blackberry & Apple Tart

Serves 8

  • 220g (8oz) sweet shortcrust pastry (see recipe)
  • 285g (10 oz) cream pastry or puff pastry (see recipe)
  • 570g (1¼ lb) Bramley’s seedling apples
  • 110g (4oz) blackberries or blackcurrants, fresh or frozen (optional)
  • 170g (6oz) caster sugar
  • Egg wash (1 egg, beaten)
  • Extra caster sugar to sprinkle
  • Serve with softly whipped cream with soft dark brown sugar

Cream Pastry (Makes 340g /12oz)

  • 110g (4oz, 1 scant cup) plain flour
  • 110g (4oz, 1/2 cup) cold butter
  • 150ml (5fl oz, 2/3 cup) cold cream

Sieve the flour into the bowl of an electric food mixer. Cut the butter into small cubes and rub into the flour using the paddle attachment until the mixture forms a coarse texture. Do not overmix – if you do, the mixture will form a shortbread-like ball. Pour in the cold cream and mix until a smooth pastry form. Wrap the pastry in parchment paper and chill overnight.  Always roll cream pastry straight from the fridge. If the pastry comes to room temperature it will be too soft to handle.

Roll the shortcrust pastry into a circle approximately 26 cm in diameter. Line a 25cm (10in) ovenproof plate with the pastry and trim off any excess that hangs over the edge of the plate. Place in the fridge to rest.  Peel, quarter and core the apples. Cut each quarter into 3cm chunks and mix with the blackberries or blackcurrant, if using. Place the fruit in the centre of the lined plate, leaving a 2.5cm (1inch) border around the edge. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the fruit. 

Tart Method: Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Reg 6.  Roll the cream pastry (or puff pastry) into a round with a diameter just larger than the plate. This will be the lid of the tart and the pastry should be slightly thicker than the shortcrust base. Brush the edge of the shortcrust base with egg wash. Lay the lid over the fruit and press the edges together. Trim off any excess pastry that hangs over the edge of the plate. Crimp the edges of the pastry and then scallop them. Cut a small hole in the centre of the lid for steam to escape during baking. Brush the surface of the tart with egg wash and put on a baking tray to catch any juices that may seep out of the tart as it bakes. 

Place in the centre of the preheated oven for 25 minutes then turn the oven down to 160°C/320°F/Reg 3 and bake for a further 35 minutes. The tart is ready when the fruit is soft, and the pastry is golden brown all over. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the hot tart lightly with caster sugar. Serve warm with softly whipped cream and soft dark brown sugar.

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