Saturday, December 5, 2009

Seventy Seven Days

One more week - the bittersweet countdown begins! Bitter because I'll have to leave this incredibly life-changing place. Sweet because you won't have to read my rantings anymore. After a jolly night at the Blackbird Pub in Ballycotton, I awoke to place two happily risen sour dough boules in the oven for breakfast. Some friends and I then headed off to the Midleton Farmer's Market (the first farmer's market in Ireland, founded by our headmistress) to see the faces of the men and women behind the meats and cheeses and fish we've been cooking with all fall. A children's choir sang Christmas carols as I waited in the line to get one last O'Connaill's hot chocolate (parting will be such sweet sorrow). On our way home, we stopped by the Ballymaloe shop for some retail therapy. I cannot come home empty handed!

Laden with trinkets (don't get too excited, family), it was time to hit the books. Our dreaded exams commence next week! I'll cook a three course meal on Thursday morning (it's very Top Chef Finale), and on Friday all the students will sit through three written exams. For my meal, I'm making Rillettes of Fresh and Smoked salmon (a coarse pate-esque spread) with sourdough toasts and arugula to start, followed by Boeuf Bourguignon with Pomme Mousseline (fancy words for whipped potatoes). For dessert, I'll serve a Grand Marnier Souffle. We'll see if I can get that done in the three hours given! My souffle better rise...

Also, I've been glaring at my cheese all week, willing him to mature enough to serve as an additional cheese course during my exam. We'll see if he comes around. Something tell me you cannot rush a cheese, though. Since I hardly believe customs will let me carry an unpasteurized cheese back into the country, I may have to leave my baby behind!

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