Day 58 – Cook Ahead

(Ballymaloe is a very beautiful place but my favourite thing to admire is by far the Palais des Poulets and its residents. So gorgeous. I will miss walking past them every morning). 


Our practical cooking exams began today.

We have to make :

One starter.

One main course.

One dessert.

And one loaf of bread.

The time limit is three hours. There is a 15 minute grace period and after that you lose 1% for every five minutes you go over.

My exam is tomorrow morning at 7:30am but I made my dessert today. It uses gelatine so I was advised to cook ahead to be sure it would set. I also soaked beans. This took 17 minutes which is deducted from the total time.


We choose our own menu. We were given guidelines on how to choose a balanced meal. Don’t repeat flavours, key ingredients, colours or cooking methods. Aim for something seasonal and appropriate for your intended audience. We also had to choose wines to go with each course. The bread gets pulled from a hat. I will show you the end result and explain my menu tomorrow!

I spent the rest of the day studying, eating and taking breaks to walk around the farm. Being so close to the beach when it is hot and sunny is really very distracting. People are feeling tense right now. There is a huge amount to revise before our written exams on Friday, we have to pack our bags and leave the next day, say goodbye to friends, many of us are ‘starting again’ in a new field of work and we’re all absolutely exhausted after the course. It’s an exciting time, but it’s an emotional one too!