Week 6 I have an excuse for as we had two exams which was quite daunting (especially to those of us who havent done an exam in almost ten years). The first was a technique exam where at random we were given 4 techniques from a list of 25 to complete within 20 minutes. The second was a herb and salad recognition exam. For about ten whole minutes I qualified as the queen of herbs and salads but am pretty sure they have all but disappeared from my head now.
So now to sit down with my glass of red wine and fabulous smoked mackerel (Im a cookery student after all and need to make that palate of mine a bit more adventurous) to tell you how things have been going.
Up until now Ive pretty much been talking about all the positive side so let me tell you about what I find a little harder as it struck me earlier today when cooking. Until coming to this course I had almost completely avoided red meat where possible mainly due to a dislike for the taste but also a certain level of squeamishness (not that Id admit that to anyone on the course but there is something that turns my stomach of cutting into bloody meat that looked like the inside of my finger when I chopped it in week 3). I made a bargain with myself that if I was going to shell out €10k that I was going to try everything so I have eaten things I normally would completely turn my nose up at including sweetbreads, oxtail, kidneys, livers and an awful smelling mexican herb thats meant to stop you farting (Epazote).
I had expected these foods to have a bit more of an impact on my body, given that my body is not used to digesting red meat but so far its been fairly ok. This may have something to do with the quality of meats and how they have been cooked by my fabulous co-students. Indeed, Ive been quite surprised as previously when trying beef and lamb Ive ended up feeling fairly awful. I had also expected that my body might completely collapse under the weight of such a heavily buttered variety of foods but so far all is going well and while I cant advocate this diet to everyone (especially anyone with cholesterol problems) I certainly am not putting on the pounds that I had anticipated before doing the course.
Im enjoying the hours in the kitchen every morning a lot more than the demonstrations in the afternoon and have noticed a steady increase in the number and complexity of dishes that we are cooking (todays lime souffle was tasty but not worth the time spent building it or all the dishes that needed to be washed afterwards). The wine tasting is good although I almost feel at times that my palate is becoming less sophisticated as one day I can taste the chocolate, blackcurrant and smoked tractor tyre in the wine and the next it just tastes like alcoholic ribena.
Possibly the most fun day so far was our school tour of which I will post more later in the week. Now I have to get back to my wine and mackerel