Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The Phony War is over!!

They say that confession is good for the soul so here's mine: I forgot my camera today so there is a limited degree of topicality about any visual aids in today's blog.

Now, basking in the absolution granted by the ever expanding coterie of true believers and followers I shall begin.

Another view of the Herb Garden

It was genuine kitchen combat today as we had to produce the dreaded work plans and then work to them to produce lunch. Somehow cooking to a plan is so much harder than cooking by instinct and belief, and so we all found.

The carefully crafted workplans went out of the window as an undignified scramble for ingredients and utensils commenced. Not everyone realised that the ingredients were in our own kitchen weigh up area and various harrassed persons went on Livingstone-esque voyages of discovery for potatoes or cream. Others just got in dead early and captured ovens for their bread at 8:15 having it in the oven by 8:30 when the session did not even start until 9am.

Just after 9 there was a mass exodus to sign in, a daily requirement, but one which is impossible to satisfy until the roll list is actually available - or at least until you know where it is!!

So much angst and an environment in which there is no chance of a soothing nicotine input until lunchtime!! Still my daily input is reducing spectacularly and I may graduate as a reformed individual, albeit a 27 stone bad tempered, but qualified, first class git.

Somehow with soothing words from Debbie the teacher supporting our group and endless kindness and washing up from Nadia my partner for the week we delivered roughly on time. My Potato soup with fresh pesto was considered suitable for general consumption ( not all dishes are) and my housemates similarly fought off the traumas and tribulations to have their food eaten and critiqued by all.

Poor Nadia suffered the (near) ultimate disaster as her perfect mushroom quiche was drowned in soup as the heavy handed buffoon cooking with her, shot potato soup over her plate. She was very gracu,ious and we are still friends.

The Shell Grotto in the grounds

Lunch over it was back to Demo for the recipes we will cook on Friday morning.

But first a demo of Parmesan cheese by Peter Ward who runs Country Kitchen a major outlet for well sourced, beautifully produced foods. His enthusiasm was boundless and inspirational. Peter is a huge player in Irish

Half an hour later we launced into the demo with Rory O'Connell demonstrating dishes as diverse as Chocolate Hazelnut Tart ( I have to cook it on Friday), Greek Salad, Scones, Pasta with a Tomato/Chorizo Sauce and Candied Peel.

Another day over the survivors, bloodied but unbowed headed back to their respective cottages to plan for Friday's battle of the cooks and wonder how they will survive non stop lectures tomorrow - not because of the content but the bum numbing chairs in the Demo Kitchen!!

Updates later.

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