And so we are half way there, 6 fabulous weeks in, and to date, 0 blog posts written. Saluting all those previous Ballymaloe multi-tasking Kings and Queens in finding the time to document their days and weeks spent in this little haven, the ones I pored over for the last 3 or 4 years, I thought it was time I better give something back. And even if nobody reads this, at least I will have a handful of words and pictures to remember the journey! Given I can barely remember what I cooked yesterday, not such a bad idea at all.
Today I completed my midterm exam – I had to identify 10 herb and 10 salad leaves, along with other tasks and techniques including laying a table, pouring a glass of wine, assembling a magi-mix, sweating an onion, plaiting dough, make a paper piping bag and cooking a green vegetable. Simple I hear you say. And so you might think but once the newspaper blocks out the windows in the kitchens and students are lining the hallways cramming in some last minute technique review, exam fever fills the air;
‘Do you use oil or butter when sweating an onion? Do you pour wine from the left or the right? Do you have to remove the head if it is a flat fish? I didn’t know you used a cold saucepan for scrambled eggs! Do you take the oyster when you are removing the leg of the chicken? Oh, I hope I don’t have to joint a chicken’ and on go the nervous whispers….
I didn’t think I was nervous until the ever familiar red blotches crept up my neck once I got into the kitchen. Anyway we might by-pass all that because there are some parts I don’t care to remember. Burning my onion. Day one. ‘How to Sweat an Onion’. Day 36. Burn the Onion. In the exam. Under Rachel Allen’s nose. Oh God. Enough said. Learning point is definitely time management, keeping your eye on all the pots. And there is that word again. Multitasking. But perhaps I am being a little hard on myself. I think I got close to 10 out of 10 on the herb/salad recognition and the kale I cooked looked lovely and green because I correctly left the lid off while cooking. So not all bad.
It is a long weekend here so looking forward to spending time with his good self. First off however, I have signed myself up for helping out at the Midleton Farmer’s Market tomorrow. Alarm goes off at 6am so time for some shut eye….over and out. Goodnight!
Ps, I realise starting a blog with a post on ‘exams’ doesn’t exactly scream EXCITING but really the journey so far has been an absolute blast so stay tuned and I will backtrack on some of the recipes, learning curves, day trips, work experience and lots more pictures! In the meantime, I have summed up some Faqs below :)Now really, good night.
Ballymaloe in Numbers
62 – Students on this course
3 – Housemates– 2 lovely gents and an even lovelier lady I share my new home with
6 – Students to every teacher in the kitchen – lots of opportunity to ask questions!
9 – Nationalities including French, Kiwi, South African, English, Irish, Scots, American, Canadian, Japanese – made for an interesting Rugby World Cup so far!
40 – the average number of pages we get in recipes every day.
4 – hours a day cooking in the kitchen, 4 days a week
1 – day per week devoted to career, wine, cakes and cheese mainly. (great combo!)
5– average number of duties each student is assigned per week, ranging from cleaning hobs, feeding chickens, serving lunch and even making butter.
100 – acres of organic farm that Ballymaloe sits on.
600 – the number of hens roaming around and laying gorgeous eggs for us