Day Seventy Three - Wine O’Clock ... 8 a.m. 😊


So reality hits home at last ... today was the first of our end of course exams ... the wine course 😱 ... and in order to try make something stick in my stubborn brain I rose at 5:30 a.m. (not feeling like a great idea now as I write this at 2.30 a.m, the following day!!!) filled myself with espresso and read .... and read ... and read ... note I don't say study here ... I don't think what I did could be classed as proper study! Once again ... that explains a lot! 😝

At 8 a.m. I entered an exam hall for the first time in many, many years ... I was a little hyper on all the coffee that I had and Darina asked was I ok, as I was joking around !!! 🤔  I told her I was just nervous .... and as she was handing out the papers she gave me a nice pat of encouragement on my arm ... would have broken my own heart to tell her I was just messing! ☺️

Anyway the exam was along the lines of what I expected and I rushed through the paper ... hoping I got the questions right that related to what I said during my lecture on Luxembourgish wine!!!  (there's no hope for me if I got those wrong!) Hopefully I passed (60%) ... we will see in the coming months! 🤞

Today being Wednesday was also "lecture" day ... We started the day with Rory doing the biscuit slot (chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies !!!) and the farmhouse cheese slot! Then we had ... sushi ... with a mix of Turkish thrown in (as Shermin the teacher is half Turkish Cypriot) 

  • Dashi
  • Sushi Rice
  • Scattered Sushi
  • Sun-dried Tomato and Mozzarella Sushi
  • Seared Beef Fillet and Red Onion Sushi Sushi Maki
  • Nigiri Sushi
  • Battleship Sushi
  • Clingfilm Sushi
  • Californian Rolls
  • Temaki (hand-rolled)
  • Sushi Oshi (pressed) 
  • David Tanis’s Specked Sushi Rice with Nori and Pickled Ginger
  • Carpaccio of Mackerel with Ginger and Sesame Dressing
  • Islander Kelp Seaweed and Sesame Salad with Ginger Dressing
  • Shermin’s Lamajun
  • Turkish Dolma
  • Miso Soup
  • Turkish Bulghur

After the sushi class, Darina took us on a mini forage around some of the gardens pointing out what exactly was edible ... I have to say that ... for all the talk of camomile at home in my place (Greeks believe Camomile can solve world hunger !!! ) I thought that the garden was just full of daisies !! 😱😝

After lunch we had a lecture on olives, olive oil and vinegars ... including a 60 year old balsamic that we could taste! Not sure how many olive oils there were ... 10+ ? ... but each with its own character and price 😝

Darina then held a session for those of us who were interested in food writing or writing cookbooks ... I have to say that was one of the more enjoyable sessions I have had here as she told some wonderful anecdotes and stories that gave a glimpse into how this phenomenon started! 😃


Early evening anyone who volunteered for the pop-up restaurant a couple of weeks ago were invited for some nibbles at Darina's house to say thank you ... it was a lovely evening and we raised approx. €2,000 for CHASE ... an organisation trying to stop the building of an incinerator at Ringaskiddy.

After that a number of us had decided to join a dinner and wine tasting at Ballymaloe house ... so we rushed off to the dinner where our cottage mate, Christian and one of his good friends Mark Walford presented a selection of their wines ... for those interested in bio-dynamic wines ... the links are here ...

Le Soula (Mark)

Clau de Nell (Christian)

A fantastic evening all round ... and met some very interesting people! Chapeau gents! 

Tomorrow ... I just hope to wake up ... then I will see what I am cooking .., maybe a souffle !!