Week 11: Days of Wine & Roses

Well, life is full or surprises. Not only did Wednesday bring afternoon tea at Ballymaloe House, but also an invitation to supper at Tim & Darina’s as a ‘thank you to the students involved in the pop-up restaurant event on 19th Nov (yes, I know, I still haven’t written the blog post about it). A second pleasant surprise was Darina’s announcement that each student could choose a cookbook as a memento of the course, with a choice of titles including ‘Ballymaloe Cookery Course’, Rory’s ‘Master It’, and my choice of ‘Forgotten Skills’.

A less welcome surprise was a 6pm Olive Oil lecture on Tuesday, the evening before our wine exam (at 8am on Wednesday). It’s week 11- surely this could have been fitted in somewhere in the previous 10 weeks other than the evening before our first written exam?

As it turned out, I managed to answer the 100 multiple choice questions in the designated hour, adding extra enjoyment to my supper chez Tim & Darina. Whether the answers were correct or not is another story.

It’s also a week of ‘lasts’: our last ‘normal’ week of cooking in the kitchens, last Wednesday of communal lunch in the Garden Cafe with its attendant long queue, last designated teachers & partners, last specialty demo- an excellent morning on sushi with teacher Shermin, and my Japanese classmate Keiko demonstrating some elaborate maki rolls, despite her professed nerves.

This week I made two lots of croissants (a two-day process). The first were not a success and headed straight for the hen bucket. The second lot were and headed straight for Mr. WB’s tummy. I was also allotted a Brussel Sprout salad, which I re-christened ‘The Salad of Infinite Patience’ due to its requirement to strip the spouts leaf by painstaking leaf. I also made some spring rolls, roast loin of pork, pangriled duck breast, couscous salad, a few breads (pre-exam practice!) and a beef consomme.

I don’t know how I feel about the course ending. I’m not counting the days like some fellow students, but I am definitely looking forward to another ‘last’: my last weekend studying!

Quote of the Week:

Darina had explained the terminology around ewes and hoggets, when a classmate asked ‘When is it called a sheep?’,  the answer? ‘When it’s still running around the field on four legs’

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