Day Eight - Sabotage !!! 😝
A reasonably normal start this morning ... only up at 7 a.m. and in the kitchen by 8 a.m !!! It's a sad reflection on my life to-date and it's transformation that I now view this as "reasonably normal". Students are starting to realise that arriving the extra half an hour or so earlier in the morning makes a big difference to your mornings work.
I was in good enough form this morning walking that "massive distance" to the school, I even managed to do an instagram story of the entrance to the school! Felt a bit subdued but that changed once I got that first shot of coffee! (note to fellow or future students ... bring a coffee flask and a re-fillable water bottle - there are regular early starts and the coffee helps massively ... having a cup or tea of coffee in the kitchen is a no - no so a flask works better, safer. Staying hydrated is also key ... the first couple of days I forgot water and I really felt it at the end of the morning ... Justin my teacher for today said he often lost 3kg of water during a long shift in the kitchen ... so if I was just to stay for 9 days non-stop in a kitchen working ... I would be sorted 😊
My mornings cooking was good ... preparation went well and my savoury dish (black eyed bean stew with mushrooms) went according to plan. My desert (creme caramel) ... hmmmmm ... I really wasn't looking forward to making it, firstly ... caramel and I don't have a good working relationship and secondly I would never order it in a million years ... I think the caramel Gods knew that and decided to make me pay!
As I said ... my prep went well ... everything on time ... my caramel and custard mixtures all done to recipe! Everything I did was ok ... but then Justin came over to me sheepishly and told me there had been a problem with our oven (me along with Colin, another student) ... someone (a different student) had accidentally turned the wrong control on the oven up to 180 degrees rather that what we had set it for (150 degrees) ... it was a complete accident due to a mistake ... so my "creme caramel" turned into "creme thick omelette" !!!! Gutted ! :( I took it in my stride and was relaxed about it ... but ... it lead me to wonder how the "old me" would have dealt with it ... I came to the conclusion that I'm glad the old me wasn't in the kitchen today 😜
We had to do some sugar work today for the presentation of the creme caramel ... it was so much more difficult that I thought ... I got some good shapes but I was striving for the "ultimate" .... a hashtag ... you can see my efforts below ... that would have been my perfect instagram post ! (Taxi for G)
My final dishes were presented well enough ... the bean stew was seasoned well and I managed to grab one of the nice bowls to serve ... good marks on that thankfully ... the creme caramel ... now that's another story ... Justin (the teacher) said he could only judge it on what was put in front of him ... but he said the presentation was good, the caramel sauce was tasty and sugar work was not so bad 😜 (have a look at the creme caramel photo below (that's what it's supposed to look like ... mine didn't even look related (well it did ... a little) ... considering I lost all enthusiasm for it once I was told it was ruined ... !!! But in fairness it was a tasty sweet omelette !!!!
Lunch was obviously what we had made today and I made a conscious effort to cut back on portions ... if I was to keep going as per week one ... they would be rolling me back to Luxembourg (it's funny ... a lot of the instructors say that most people lose weight on this course ... I for the life of me can't see how 😉
The afternoon session was a novel one ... we were first introduced to Peter Ward ... he and his wife run a grocer / deli / coffee bar in Nenagh, Tipperary (www.countrychoice.ie) ... Peter spoke to us about an organic parmigiano reggiano from Ciaolatte farm in Parma, Italy (and even gave us a taste fresh from a wheel of cheese he broke down in front of us) he was extremely entertaining, knowledgeable and super enthusiastic!
Then we finally got to meet Rachel Allen ... I have to say I never really watched her programs on TV nor bought her books ... I will admit it here and now ... I missed out (Yes I said it !!!!)... she is really lovely! She comes across so well ... genuine and witty ... I really enjoyed her demo today and look forward to her next demo!
I was knackered when I came in from the day and did actually grab a cheeky little nap ... that however seemed to wipe me out more ... I did manage to do my filing and my order of work and finished with a glass of wine with two of my house mates (Caroline & Emma) ... Caroline is actual a wine buff (diploma and all that ... she was at a wine tasting in Cork after the course and brought back a little of two unusual wines for us to taste ... we did a blind tasting for the laugh ... One turned out to be Chinese ... and the other ... Portuguese! We will have a wine tasting in the house on Wednesday with another cottage ... so I look forward to that ... we'll see how many I get wrong)
Tomorrow I am picking salad leaves at 7:30 a.m. ... and I will be making brown soda bread, grilled spring onions, chicken breasts with spicy peanut satay sauce and coriander with arjard (Cucumber Salad) ... hopefully I can avoid disaster tomorrow!
They also put my blog up on the Ballymaloe cooking school website today ... so welcome to everyone who is reading from that link ... if you have any questions about the course or the blog ... please feel free to drop me a line!