I tend to write this blog assuming that I’m talking to myself, only to be surprised every now and then to hear from people who read it who I wouldn’t necessarily expect to do so. People who aren’t my family or closest friends – I assume they occasionally have a glance out of polite obligation – but passing acquaintances or friends of friends, people who I wouldn’t expect to be following along with my rambling story. So, strange as it feels to me to announce this as though I’m speaking to readers, I’m letting you know that you’re not getting a proper blog this week.
On Monday we had wine revision and an unexciting prep cooking session, on Tuesday we were out of school for a wine trip, on Wednesday we had all day cooking, on Thursday we had the day off for wine revision, and on Friday we had our wine exam. So, cooking wise, all I have to tell you about is Wednesday! I could describe the seven hours of travelling it took me to get to and from Sussex on Tuesday or the terror of the WSET Level 2 paper on Friday but, let’s face it, if you’re here at all you’re probably here for the food.
On Wednesday we only had two dishes to serve, and one of them we’d prepared on Monday. This sounds like an easy day, but oddly, it wasn’t. We started with a terrine made with pork, liver, and pistachio, served with sourdough and microherbs. Surprisingly easy and delicious, and perfect for making ahead and slicing and serving to guests. The second dish was a creative duck plate. Essentially, they gave us a duck and told us to do whatever we wanted with it and use as much of the bird as possible. I went for: pan fried duck breast; beetroot ravioli filled with duck confit, thyme and garlic; pickled baby beetroot and shallot rings; celeriac purée; baby carrots, peas, and micro herbs; and a duck and port jus. If you think that sounds complicated, you should have seen some of the dishes that other people came up with. They were seriously beautiful and professional and I am in awe of (and slightly jealous of) so many of my classmates. As we were all making complex dishes with multiple components to be brought together for service, it was a bit of a manic day and resulted in the most terrifying and comic washing up pile I have ever seen.
So, our big portfolio hand in deadline has passed, our WSET Level 2 exam is over (thank god, on both counts), and next week is Week 7. I can’t quite believe it, but we’re very nearly there.
And I’ll try to give you a proper blog post next week.