Week 5 has been filled with not-so-many-blog posts but many other (mainly delightful) things like lovely visitors from London, lemon tarts, fish suppers at Pier 26 with the Mrs Walsh’s crew and early morning sourdough baking sessions.
This will be a short one as am pretty sure I should be memorising herbs as we speak…
Oh but it happened. That week 5 thing. After being on such a buzz after Wednesday’s cheese, wine, fermentation and butchery day – Thursday I feel completely flat and had a rubbish day in the kitchen. I just couldn’t get my timing right for anything. I over-cooked my candied peel. I over-cooked my fish. I undercooked my leeks. I got told off for having a messy section. I couldn’t even get boiled potatoes right! They split open and their white insides went everywhere. When I finally made it into the dining room for lunch I felt very deflated. Hmm. So perhaps (especially given we had a heads up in week 1) I should have seen it coming. Everyone has their off days. All of these rational thoughts I know and yet it’s sometimes hard to remember that. Especially after 4 hours of hard work when you’ve tried to put so much care and attention into your work.
Anyway, I took myself for a (quick!) walk around the gardens, a few deeps breaths and it didn’t take much to get it into perspective. Never more so has the mantra of ‘you learn more from your mistakes’ felt so apt.
But some of the positive highlights from the past few days include:
More fish filleting (we’ve learnt both round and flat fish now)
*note neither the leeks or the potatoes get a look in here
Turning a basic white yeast bread into the pretty-as-a-picture sunflower bread
Getting an early start on Friday morning to bake my sourdough and being first into Kitchen 2
Chicken casserole and the most lovely and oh so citrussy lemon tart
And after demo I was whisked away by some wonderful girlfriends for a weekend getaway on the Wild West Coast of Cork. Kate, Jenny, Michelle and Georgie came for lunch on Friday, watched the afternoon demo with Rachel and Tracie and then we headed off to Inchydoney Island Resort. And it was so amazing! A lovely weekend escape by the sea. We had our own self catering apartment overlooking the beach and full access to the amazing pool and spa facilities. Lying in our robes in the relaxation room on Saturday afternoon watching the storms roll in was pure bliss. I cooked. We ate a lot of cheese. We walked on the windy beach and up sand dunes. And we lounged.
Anyway, I digress. My wrap up of week 5 in numbers:
Ingredients to be cooked as part of a traditional Irish Breakfast: 6(eggs, rashers of bacon, black pudding, white pudding, cherry tomatoes, mushroom)
Items to be homemade when serving breakfast – as many as possible
Fishes filleted – 2 (1 round Hake, 1 flat Plaice)
Scallops available for our Friday afternoon demo – 0 (weather related – boo)
Lambs livers available to be used instead of scallops – plenty (Sorry, but also boo)
Citrus fruit needed for the lemon tart – 4 (zest of 2 lemon, juice of 3 lemons & 1 orange)
Loaves of sourdough made – 1 (at 6.45am to be ready for my weekend guests)
Loaves of bread shaped like a flower – 1!
Blue plasters – 0
Burns – 2 not major but is it possible to burn away your finger prints?
Number of piglets captured on camera – 0 (Again, I know, I know. Am hoping a visit from Cat Farrell this weekend will help resolve this!)
Varieties of fresh garden herbs & salad leaves memorised – Now more than 10 but less than the 33 we have listed.
Techniques we will be tested on in the practical afternoon exam – 5
Total number of techniques we need to know – 25
Number of days until our exam -5 (Yikes)
Amount of study I need to do – Increasing on a daily (hourly!?) basis
Time it’s now getting light in the morning – by 07.30am it’s definitely not pitch black any more!
Days needed to make candied peel – 3 (Day 1 soak, day 2 boil, day 3 candy and preserve)
Interest in ever making candied peel ever again – 0 (It was a Week 5 thing)
Dinners at Pier 26, the local seafood restaurant at Ballycotton – 1
Scallops eaten at Pier 26 – 3 and they were… pretty. damn. amazing.
Over and out for week 5,