Day Eighty - Practical Exam Day!
Awake since 6 a.m. ... didn't think I was nervous or didn't feel nervous but for some reason I was awake at daft o'clock ... I had a few things to do during the morning ... buying some things from the shop ... making sure I ate ... collecting pear leaves (for garnish) ... printing out my order of work and more ...🤔
I went down to the school for about 9.30 a.m. and to my surprise the public computer was not working due to the exams ... but thankfully the lovely Sharon ( Darinas assistant and so much more) printed it for me! I then pottered about the cottage for a bit before heading down to start my exam around 12.00 p.m. ...
I wasn't nervous going in as I was just determined to do my best and ignore the time ... but just before I went in others were telling me their times and I have to admit it was in the back of my mind that I seemed to have a lot more to do than some of the people who had gone 1.5 hours over!
Anyway I ploughed through making my bread dough and then through each of the dishes pretty much in the order I had intended ...
The teachers and the wash up ladies in the kitchen were a great support keeping you calm with a little word of encouragement just at the right time! (Thanks Pat, Dickie, Tiffin, Mammie, Debbie, Theresa, Siobhan) and all the others who shared a joke during the time)
It was one of those menus that has you working away for ages preparing your mise en place and it looks like you are not managing to get anything progressed! I kept plugging away but all the time bemoaning the decision to make samosas with home made dough rather than pre-made filo! 🧐☺️
Little by little I managed to make progress and I managed to give my 15 minute warning to Richard and Pat (the two teachers supervising the kitchen) at 4:28 so they could give the tasters the heads up. The last 15 minutes are a bit of a blur but I seemed to kick into autopilot and plated as I had planned to ...👍
My tasters were ... Darina !!!! Toby (her son and manager of the school) and Shermin (a teacher) ... I knew Darina likes Indian food and could handle a bit of heat ... but Shermin is of Turkish descent so despite my Greek affiliations ... I was delighted to have her tasting my dishes! 😝😝
We don't get any formal indications how the food was received but I was as happy as I could be with what I put out and how it tasted and looked ... so in the end that is all that really matters to me!
Something to note for future students or people curious why I picked the below menu ... you are only allowed choose recipes from the recipes given to you during the course itself ... so those of you who know I collect cookbooks ... I wasn’t allowed use them 😝
Also I could have chosen something with fewer components and managed to cook it in under 3 hours as opposed to choosing a menu with 11 or 12 components and completing it late ... but you know what they say .... no half measures ... go big or go home 💥🤩
The menu ...
Madhur Jaffreys Samosas with a mango Relish
Spiced Keralan Chicken with Almonds,
Pilaff Rice, Cucumber Raita, Coriander chutney, Poppodums and a side
"perky, pungent" green salad
Poached Pears in a saffron syrup
Youghurt ice-cream and an almond praline
I also had a white yeast bread that was rising while I was cooking and I was allowed to bake it after I was finished without any time penalty - As I type this blog post the bread is sitting in Darina's office waiting for her to taste it !!! ) 🤔😊☺️
All in all I had a time of approx 4 hours 45 minutes (1 hour 45 over the time limit) but I am very happy with it considering the amount of techniques and dishes / component I included and I put out!
You can also see below how tired I was at 7:30 p.m. ... the thumbs up not translating to my smile 😂
I got back to the cottage around 7:30 p.m. and was shattered so no study done but a bottle of wine opened and football watched 😉 Tomorrow will have to be a study blitz!