All work and no tea makes Jack a dull boy

It’s taken the best part of 4 weeks but I feel I’ve finally got into the pattern of my days at Tante Marie regarding having to get up early. Or so I thought until fate intervened. Yesterday, I woke up, strolled downstairs, enjoyed breakfast, and started the tea making process. It was at this juncture that it was pointed out to me that I should have left the house a while ago. I blame Theo for reasons that I cannot yet quite formulate- probably just because he’s quite apathetic so I know he won’t bother arguing that it wasn’t his fault. So I ran out of the house without a jacket, I forgot my phone, but worst of all, I left the full cup of tea sitting on the side. I do not think I have ever been more unhappy. In a universe where I am supreme ruler, such a thing would carry a punishment. I am not a morning person and so tea at least softens the blow for those who have to be around me before midday, so I apologise to anyone who had the  misfortune of seeing me that day. Tarte aux fruites which we'll be cooking ourselves next week

I did manage to get over the tea fiasco, and soon moved on to missing my phone. Whilst I am at Tante Marie I am busy pretty much the whole time. If we manage to cook efficiently (rare), then there’s a bit of time for sitting down after lunch. As such, I have no real need for a phone whilst I am out. Despite this, I felt desperately disconnected. What upset me more than the disconnectedness was the fact that I felt anything in the first place. I do not mean that I was displeased that I am not an android, and was unhappy that I possess the capability for emotion, just that I felt I should be able to manage more effectively without my phone, especially considering the extent I criticise others for the same thing. I think some sort of dress down Friday equivalent should be brought into place. Mobile free Saturdays or something, just to remember that the world doesn’t end.

Perhaps it was a good thing I forgot the phone anyway as it meant less distractions, as I felt that this week was a noticeable step up in pressure than the preceding weeks. We did some filleting of our first flat fish on Thursday, and then again for a different dish on Friday. We were also cooking calves liver for the first time as well, which we had with sweet potato and spinach mash.

Simple but delicious - plaice goujons. Beer battered and bread crumbed.

I was particularly looking forward to turban d’agen this week, which I hoped was some kind of crazy turban-like dessert. I’m not really sure what such a thing would look like, but I had high hopes nonetheless. Alas, turban d’agen is in fact a rice pudding finished with cream, set with gelatine and served with prunes. Definitely a missed opportunity.

A pavlova with strawberries, kiwi and passion fruit.

The biggest challenge of the week for myself was definitely the gateau au chocolat. Making the genoise sponge was easy enough, although not something I’ve done before, but the piping was rather daunting, especially as were repeatedly told that the cake was a very popular exam dish. I think on balance I’m glad that the piping is a set design, as at least you don’t have to try and be too creative whilst having to work quickly. That being said, my piping skills leave a lot to the imagination so even with something to copy I wasn’t anticipating good results. In the end, it didn’t turn out too badly, although given its likelihood as an exam dish I’ll probably have to do it at home again to practise, much to the dismay of my family who thought that it looked like it had fallen out of the 1970s (fair) and was a lot of work for something that didn’t actually taste that good. I carefully guard my piping work from cake thieves all the way home and this is the thanks I get. I will be taking applications to stop by other people's houses on the way home to share baked goods from now on instead of bringing them home.

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