Wayne's blog

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Exams, Pizza Making, Blaas & Exam Results !

Well what a few days I've had ! Friday we had our 6 week exam and I was nervous about it but at the same time I felt I would be ok and do alright, I crammed like f**k the night before and the morning of which I'm sure helped me out Smile Saturday I volunteered to make pizza's in the wood fired over, turned out to be the busiest day they have ever had knocking out 130 pizzas, wrecked after it. Monday was a write off, driving down seems to catch up with me every Monday evening so I'm usually shattered. Tuesday I made some Blaas and brought a bita Waterford Culture to these neck of the woods, went down very well Smile The Rorys says he was giving out the exam results ....... I shit myself, I have no idea why I was so nervous and Mick that lives with me might have hit the nail on the head, it means so much to me to succeed in this that I was absolutely bricking it, something I haven't done for a long time.

Soooooooo I'll get to the good news early, I smashed the exams with a 98% & 96% I was bloody delighted and am still chuffed over it Smile

A Valentines Treat ... And A Shocker !!

Valentines Day this year seemed like it was going to be a tricky one ... Me being in Cork and Polly being in Waterford but thanks to the gods or luck or whatever ya think yerself Polly managed to get picked out of a hat and won us a meal for 2 in The Moorings in Dungarvan, almost exactly half way between us both - RESULT !! Tuesday was a tough day for me in the kitchen, obviously I cant be brilliant every day lol but I do try to be, Tuesday just battered me ....

A Busy Few Days !!

It feels like its been ages since I wrote and I guess it has been, last Tuesday was the last time I actually had a free couple of hours to sit down and blog a few thoughts, not because I haven't wanted to but just because I have had some much going on ! I was in Darina's house Wednesday night for drinks, Ballymaloe House kitchen Thursday, Friday was a night at home, Saturday was spent with Jamie and Pol and then a few pints, Sunday was pretty much the same minus the pints and I just didn't grab a spare hour ... So where to start, at the beginning I guess.

A Month Down Already !

I've heard the expression time flies when your having fun but christ this has been some swift month ! I cant believe the amount of stuff that I have been taught and have somehow managed to remember in that time. I feel I have really come a long way in the kitchen and I'm getting some confidence in what I am doing, I'm beginning to look at things differently in my food, not just cooking the recipe but things like what would go nice as a dessert to this main, or if I changed this herb for that one would it be better actually thinking about the ingredients individually and not just the end result ... My technique has come a long way, knife skills are sharp lol Smile

Sea Bass and Lemon Meringue Pie

First day cooking in the kitchen today and I did alright, I had a beautiful fresh Sea Bass, pretty sure it would have been caught this morning of perhaps yesterday from Ballycotton Bay its was spanking fresh, bita mouth to mouth I'd say I might have got it started... Its a wonderful piece of fish, but you can substitute Cod or Haddock just as easily. I then knocked up a tasty Lemon Meringue Pie which for my first ever attempt at the meringue turned out well I'm pleased to say.

What's Most Important ...

Last Thursday started out like any other day, I went to the kitchen for 8.30am and started to prep things, at about 9.00am I got a message to say Jamie, my 4 year old little boy, was sick and going to the doc. I rang home to find out how he was. He was vomiting all night, couldn't keep anything down and his temperature was up, a minute or so later I went back to the kitchen but couldn't get him out of my head and rightly so. I was worried about him, hate seeing him sick and its worse when I'm not there to help Sad I was waiting to hear what the Doc had to say. At 9.30am I got a text to ring, I did and Jamie was on his way to hospital, at that moment everything else in life evaporated and the one and only focus I had was to get home to him, to be there with him and to make sure he was ok.

Day 12 ... Bread, Soup, Lemon Pie and Finger Shavings ....

Today I made a White Turnip Soup, Red Currant Jelly, Croutons (bloody well hard), Fluffy Lemon Pudding & Shavings of Right Hand Little Finger - Ooouucccchhh. I got out of the traps well gathering all my ingredients and what not before 9am and started off with the soup, soup is starting to embed in my brain - I've read the recipe a thousand times by now and its great that all soups start with the same base. Sweated onions and potatoes, then it depends on the soup whether you add the main body of the soup, in this case turnips to soften then and then stock, its that easy, I'll try get the base recipe up and you can experiment from there because it really is worth while doing it. If like me you were thinking no point going to all that effort for one bowl then your mistaken - soups of all kind freeze brilliantly, make your soup, portion it out into freezer bags or containers, freeze, bring to work with you or have for lunch, evening time snack whatever ya fancy just defrost and your away. Takes about 30 minutes to so to defrost, waste not want not thats my new motto !

Day 11 ... Back In The Game !

Started back at it today with a bang ! I was determined to get my shit together and cook like I know I can, so off I went. I had Shepherds Pie, Baked Potatoes & Mango's in Lime Syrup, 3 properly good dishes a couple a different techniques for me to get used too so I really enjoyed it. I got off to a bad start however before the cooking began, I made the trip down from Waterford this morning @ 6.15am and I arrived later than I expected @ 7.50am, so usual morning routine from there - shower, get dressed at this point I got a knock on the door, Tabi informed me that I was on stock duty and the kitchen had rang looking for me ... Balls ! 20 minutes late I rushed down there and Annette was waiting on me, apologies made and I started in on stock. The stock is made fresh daily and it is an essential part of a lot of dishes, all soups, gravy's, pies etc so its important that its done. I did the stock anyway and got the 2 pots on, I moved about the 3 kitchens then helping out carrying stock from one to the other, milk to kitchens and a few other bits and bobs. So it was pretty much 9.15am when I got started.

A Saturday To Remember, Midleton Market & Mickael Viljanen

Saturday is usually a day for relaxing, if your lucky enough to have it off that is. This Saturday for me was one that I didnt have off but I enjoyed none the less. Friday morning Julia had asked me to go to the Midleton Market with her to help out with the Ballymaloe stall - I wanted to do it all along but I hadn't got my name down in time theres only 12 Saturdays and 60 students so I was more than happy to take the opportunity, the only draw back was I would miss the start of Mickael Viljanen's demo (more on that later). So at 7am I set off to the market wrapped up in my hat and gloves, twas pretty cowld out there !

Day 10 ... Hacksaw anyone ?

Yesterday I spoke about how chuffed I was that I had completed on time and made a cracker of a dish, incidentally Marie from the Moorings in Dungarvan worked in Ballymaloe House for a while sent me a message on facebook with a pic of the exact pie I had cooked, its on the menu there and would be well worth a visit if your down Dungarvan way ! Today however was not so clever (I made a rhyme) it wasn't that I didn't get everything done its that it was completed at the same time near the end so I had lamb coming out, carrots on, chard on, pissaladiere done, marmalade boiling (Ellie did most of the work for that lol) cumin gravy on the go all at once with NO space to work in - but and I mean but - I did it. Another great lesson learned today is that a lot of the food we cook can be done in advance, I don't mean prepared I mean cooked - not fully just to the point where its just about cooked and then taken off the heat. Therefor I could have finished the cooking instead of having to start it all and finish all at the same time !! Invaluable lesson for me ...

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