Day Three - We're (certainly) not in Kansas anymore


Day 3 … the holiday is most certainly over … today we went from a gentle Sunday drive at 50 kmph to full on motorway driving at 180 kmph! 

The day started with a 7 a.m. rise and I was at my kitchen workstation at 8am sharp! The idea of the early start is that we can get a jump on the day as we were due to present our dishes for tasting around 11:30 a.m. to our teachers (Pat was with us today)! 

At 8.05 a.m. I was already milling around the prep areas weighing out bowls of flour, onions potatoes, butter etc. The work order I had prepared last night (got the thumbs up from Pat … well at least that was a good start) started my day at so with the timings of everything I had to do I would be fine for 11.45 a.m. … eh … not so much! 

I had almost of my veg peeled, chopped and ingredients weighed out by the time the teachers arrived. 

At 9 a.m. Pat informed his group that one in each pair would have to make the brown soda bread … so I volunteered … foolishly!

So by 9 a.m. the work order was out the window and it was a case of working on instinct to some degree. 

How can I explain this … when I cook at home … I know what I have in the oven … when I need to take it out and what else I need to do at the same time … Well in our kitchen today all that knowledge and habit is not worth a flying $%&£! You think you are good … and suddenly you are not ! It’s almost funny.

I think the main reason is just the amount of things going on, there were 18 other students in our kitchen today and 3 teachers (groups of 6 per teacher) … all wanting to use the same ovens, weighing scales, food mixers, bread soda etc ... and ask the teacher something at the same time ! Don’t get me wrong … it’s a great place to be and a good atmosphere but it just doesn’t compare on any level to cooking at home! 

Reminder - today I was making 

  • Leek and Potato Soup - The larder ran out of leeks to I ended up making a Potato and Thyme soup
  • French onion Tart
  • Brown Soda Bread

I was fairly calm and collected with most of what I was doing but I had a couple of issues during cooking … 

  • I almost let my potatoes and onions for the soup burn … caught them just in time! I forgot to use a diffuser on the gas burner! 
  • Brown Bread caught a little on the tin … apparently its the tin fault …

I managed to plate all my dishes by 12:30  … here’s something to make you think …

  • The bread needs to be presented on a bread board with one piece sliced! 
  • The soup and tart need to be served on a hot plate!
  • You need to present your food with a formal plate setting (cutlery)! 

I was pleased enough with my dishes … we had 4 or 5 categories today on which we were marked and I’m delighted to say that I happy with my marks 😁

On presentation my soup was a little thick but taste was excellent, my tart ... the pastry was a little thick on the edge and slightly under baked on the bottom (no it wasn’t a soggy bottom !!! ) but over all I was happy enough with my first proper day in a kitchen! 

I barely managed to get my lunch into me when I was hauled back to clean my sections hob and ovens … no rest for the wicked … or the cheeky 😉

The afternoon demo was most enjoyable … We met Rory O’Connell for the first time (well I sat with him at lunch briefly today also) and some of you will know how well he comes across on TV … well in person … he’s even nicer and funnier … 


Rory did all the demonstrations for the dishes we will need to cook on Friday (we have no cooking tomorrow … wine tasting !!! Woo hoo ! ) His style of presentation is excellent … he is so comfortable in front of people and so confident in what he does it is a joy to watch and to listen to! So much so I have started to write down some of his throw away comments … I will add them some day to one of my posts … Rory’s Ramblings ! 

Today he did a chocolate hazelnut tart, a loganberry jam, scones, candied peel and a selection of goats cheese salads … the tasting was a pleasure!

I was on demonstration kitchen wash-up duty today (each day we have tasks we need to do ...) and I never enjoyed washing up as much in my life ... great laugh! 

I took it easy after the day we had ... partly because I am up to make bread at 7 a.m. in the Bread Shed and partly because I am fairly wrecked after the day that was in it! 

Roll on tomorrow ... Sourdough ... here we come !!!