It seems like a lot has happened since my last post, although in reality it’s only been eleven days.
What can I say? Life is good.
For the first time in as long as I can remember, I am truly, genuinely happy in myself and in what I’m doing with my life. It marks a significant point for me, considering that just a few weeks ago, I was close to regretting my decisions about attending culinary school and moving to London. Ultimately though, I’m glad that I did it. I’m glad that I stuck out the tough first weeks and made it through those early days when all I wanted to do was give up.
Now, I love it. I’ve made some fantastic friends and the school is great. I love the technical lectures, the demonstrations, I’m even learning to relax and enjoy the practical classes. Okay, Thursday’s session was a tough one, I’ll admit. It was Tarte au Citron, which is one of our three potential exam pieces; that’s difficult enough. On top of that, we started late because the previous class finished late and the chef really pushed us, which was stressful since we hadn’t really been in that kind of situation before. I did feel under pressure for most of the class, but in hindsight, I think that I built it up in my head to be more difficult than it actually was. In the end, everyone, including me, finished on time – no mean feat considering we started twenty minutes late! – and produced a decent product, so it wasn’t really so bad. Plus, I think the chef pushed us because he knew we could do it, which is a nice vote of confidence.
Friday, however, was probably the best day I’ve had in school so far. We had a really good demonstration (the chef made, among other things, a beautiful Tarte Amandine with frangipane, pears and griottine cherries that was just fantastic) and a fairly relaxed practical; so relaxed that we even managed to finish an hour early! Everything seemed to fall into place; I felt comfortable in the kitchen, I knew what I was doing and I just felt like things really came together at last. It was a good confidence booster, which is exactly what I need at this point. I just hope that I can keep this up as we start learning more complex techniques and recipes.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any of my pictures from LCB up yet, so this will have to do instead! This is an eight-strand plaited white loaf that I made after watching it as a technical challenge on the 2012 series of The Great British Bake-Off; for a first attempt, I’d say it’s not too bad! The loaf itself was lovely, with a good crust and soft crumb, perfect with just a little sliver of butter. I don’t have much experience in bread-making, but this loaf has really fired up my love of bread, so hopefully I’ll be making much more in the future!
(Recipe by Paul Hollywood, from the BBC Food website.)