Week 11 was filled with both the serious and the fun.
Serious because we’re in our last full week in the kitchen so it was our final opportunity to get through our list of techniques, get them checked by our teachers, re-do anything that just hasn’t gone right and go back to revisit those things we did early on in the course. And serious because of the amount of study we have to do; study for the wine exam happening on Wednesday morning, the 3 x written exams we have in week 12 and of course practise for our final practical exam! My Masterchef moment (make 1 bread plus a 3 course meal in 3 hours) is scheduled for the afternoon of Wednesday 23rd March)
But amidst the serious there was lots of fun too. It was St Patricks Day on Thursday 17th and although we were in the kitchens that day it meant we got Friday off and a lovely long weekend. That was all the more better for me because I had an extra special visitor in town this weekend, my lovely Aunt Rosemary all the way from NZ! It was also pretty fun because Thursday was a fairly hilarious day in the kitchen (lots of bad taste green going on everywhere thank you Teachers) and we had a lovely dinner together on the Thursday evening, wrapped up in blankets outside on long tables in the courtyard. Lots of fun.
Week 11 saw me back in Kitchen 3 (yay!) and working with Gill, one of my lovely housemates. So good times. Food wise, some of my favourites recipes cooked included making croissants! So much fun. This is a 2 day affair and worth every second. After my year living in Paris and our well documented Hannah family obsession with croissants, it may be unsurprising for some of you to hear I LOVED THESE. Will repeat. Orders welcome.
I also made these pretty awesome chocolate ice-cream little cups with chocolate pots and curls and stuff. Fun! And so pretty. Again, I’m totally going to repeat these guys.
The wine exam also went pretty well. It was an hour long but I was done in about 20 minutes. There were some I definitely didn’t know, but others (most in fact) I felt pretty confident in. And on reflection afterwards I know I’ve definitely learnt so much about all things wine in the last 12 weeks. Despite being a very regular wine drinker I could not have answered half of the questions we were asked in the exam when I arrived back in January. I know so much more about the grape varieties, wine making methods, food and wine pairing (turns out there is so much more than red meats with red wine and white meats with white wine!), different wine regions, organic and biodynamic wine making, sweet wines, sherrys and fortified wines…. such a fascinating and interesting area. And as Colm told us in our first week, one we’ll be learning about for life as there is just so much more to know.
We also had a great visit up to Ballymaloe House on Wednesday afternoon. Afternoon tea, a visit to the wine cellar, and tours around both front and back of house. We kind of had the upstairs, downstairs experience of Downton Abbey.
So, before I dash – the usual summary of my week in numbers.
Final days to go until we finish our 12 week course – 5 and counting!!!!
- Monday is our final day in the kitchen cooking
- Tuesday is final demonstration
- Wednesday and Thursday are exam cooking days
- Friday is written exams day
Wine questions in exam – 100
Correct answers in wine exam – hard to know but I think I can confidently say more than 50 and less than 100
Visits to Kinsale with my lovely Aunt – 1
Visits to the Black Pig – 1 (this time just for wine, but still just as lovely)
Meals at Ballymaloe House – 3 (1 afternoon tea, 1 Saturday night 5 course dinner and 1 for their famous Sunday night buffet meal)
Amazing bottles of wine drunk from the Ballymaloe Wine Cellar – 2 (a delicious Burgundy and a delicious Barolo from Piedmont)
Amazing bottles of wine actually in the Ballymaloe Wine Cellar – All of them!
Times I’ve practised my final exam meal – 1 this was for lunch with my Aunt and Housemates as eaters and taste testers
Times I’ve practised my final exam dessert, the Ballymaloe Chocolate Almond Gateau – 3
Times I want to see / think / taste this cake again – 0 (well, for a little while anyway)
Time we have allocated to cook our 3 course meal and bread – 3
Likelihood of me ever doing it in 3 hours – hmmmm. Low. I’d say I’ll be closer to 4 than 3 at this rate!
Loaves of bread baked practising for final exam – at least one a day!
Time that we find out what bread we have to include in our final exam – 24 hours ahead of our cooking time. The exact bread we have to cook is drawn out of a ballot.
New Jersey calves born on the farm – 1 and her name is Patricia
Piglets spotted in the farm – multiple. Rosemary and I climbed fences to get some requisite good snaps!