Saturday, March 24, 2007

Eleven Weeks Down and One to Go

Eleven weeks down and one to go! This was a funny week. Because Monday was a holiday, the rest of the week seemed one day off. Maybe it was the void of the kids leaving or the reality that the course is ending and I will be leaving this beautiful place. Then again the stress and pressure of finals has everyone’s nerves a bit on edge. In any case, Wednesday morning was the first of several final exams. There are three more next week plus a practical exam where we have to cook a three course meal and a freshly baked bread in three hours. The final product, presented beautifully of course, will be tasted and scored by three judges. So needless to say the chefs around here are feeling the heat. The highlight of this week was having my cousin Beatty and her friend Judy down from Tuam, County Galway for a visit. They came for lunch at school and stayed for an afternoon demonstration given by Rory. He made over a dozen different Canapés. My cousin was so excited to be at Ballymaloe. She leaned over at one point and told me she had always wanted to come but never thought it would happen. I ‘m glad I was able to share the experience with her. I treated Beatty and Judy to dinner that evening and we reminisced about their trip to Los Angeles back in 1999. Wow where do the years go? This week we made pork en croute (a delicious marinated stuffed pork tenderloin wrapped in puff pastry…like a beef Wellington), various flavors of homemade ice cream, gruyere and thyme stuffed chicken, poached Raywing, a selection of different red and green curry beef, lamb and chicken dishes, loads of assorted smoked salmon appetizers and chocolate and praline cakes. I also baked my first loaf of granary bread. I was most proud of my first baklava. It was actually served for the Wednesday morning school coffee break. Today I came to one of my favorite spots in Midelton, the Internet café, so I could post some of the last blog photos. I also went to the Farmer’s Market and the butcher to get the ingredients I needed to practice cooking my final exam menu. It was a bit of a school reunion as I saw loads of other students there. It is a beautiful sunny day and I feel thankful to God to be alive!