Our first port of call, after taking photos of ourselves, was to get into the kitchen demo for a quick salad making show and tell. Or that should be show and taste. Laurels to chards, bok chois to wild rockets. They were all welcome and more than 'ummed' and 'ahed' at. They were enjoyed, revealed in, I head several murmurs of 'yum' whilst the bunches of vivid greens were passed around. It's funny how quickly I've forgotten that a mere year ago I was living in a wonderful country house where I could do exactly what they do here at Ballymaloe….nip out the house and pick your salad. Lucky lucky me.
Moving quickly out of reminiscing and into the present day off we went for a whirlwind tour of the actual kitchens we will be walking/running through every single day for the next 12 weeks. Kitchen 1, 2 and 3, dining rooms 1 and 2, larder here, larder there, Toby takes our picture and then we are off to cook.
Knives out. Ok then. This is the moment of truth. This is the moment when it's 'can you really cook or just think you can cook?'. I am I should say, nervous and a little shaky at this point. I am trying to forget every single thing that I have taught myself for the next 12 weeks. From every tiny detail of making syrup with Stevia leaves rather than sugar to chopping an onion. Gosh. Golly golly gosh.
I am the second person to cut myself in our kitchen. Glad I wasn't the first but the second. I wear my blue plasters with pride. Especially as by the time the 4.5hour demo lecture in the afternoon came crashing into sight and there was a sea of blue plasters. Should be ashamed if you don't have one I say!
Now we are all pretty tired right now. We learnt to chop and onion, carrot and potato. Make sweet geranium syrup, make carrot and cumin soup and bake a modern day soda bread. Oh and not forgetting rice pudding. Oh how I love that bad boy, could have done with some cardamon but hey ho, next time.
Knives at the ready!