The Famous St Helena Pumpkins
This week has gone so fast I can hardly believe its Saturday again. This is actually my last Saturday before heading back, first to Cape Town and then to England and my family who I am really looking forward to seeing again. The week flew by probably because I was having such a great time. The majority of the week has been spent cooking with my bunch of lively students.
The first training course of the week was basic Patisserie which is a bit of a understatement to say the least! How on earth can one learn basic patisserie in three hours? Well we had a go. I concentrated on a number of key techniques including rough puff pastry, choux pastry, pastry cream, caramel and Buttercream using boiling sugar syrup. It went very well with most of us finishing the class feeling decidedly sick after trying the multitude of pastries. I ended up with a large blister on the end of one of my fingers because I stuck it in some boiling caramel which was a decidedly stupid thing to do
Alsace Onion Tart St Helena Style
Vegetarian cookery followed the next day and the final course, which was in fact the favourite of all who attended, was breads and doughs. I had been looking forward to this course as its one of my favourite subjects and something I can talk about endlessly. We cooked a variety of breads and doughs including Foccaccia, rolls, crumpets, yeasted tart dough, cornbread and a slow rise sourdough recipe which was kindly emailed to me by Andrew Whitley of Village Bakery fame.
Andrew if you are reading this there are now 5 ladies on St Helena who have taken the leaven to their houses and who are going to continue using your slow rise recipe, thank you!
The RMS St Helena from my bedroom window at 6.30am Saturday
This morning I opened my bedroom curtains to see a ship on the horizon, now in St Helena this is a big thing as NOTHING comes by here by accident. I have NOT heard one aircraft overhead since I got here , (apparently one does go overhead every Sunday lunchtime from Namibia to Brazil but Ive never seen or heard it). The ship was the RMS ST Helena back from her trip up to Portland in Dorset. She arrived at 7.00am and was carrying amongst others, the new Governor, Mark Capes and his wife.
The Swearing in ceremony was planned for 2.00pm and right on time, the band started up and anyone on the island in uniform (guides, scouts, police etc) marched down the street to the tune of land of hope and glory and the like. All the local dignitaries were out in their finery, hats included, for the occasion.
Unlike the UK there was silence during the speeches. It was hoped that the Governor’s acceptance speech would confirm the signing off of the airport contract for the island but it didn’t. It did however mention the airport and the fact that every effort was being made by the British Government to get this going. The Bishop of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha was on hand with prayers and then the music started up for the marching to begin again.
Next week, being my last one, is going to be packed with loose ends to tie up and packing! I have to get my belongings ready for the ship on Friday although I don’t sail until Saturday which is going to create a multitude of dilemmas. On Friday I am taking part in the St Helena Food Festival which will entail running a food stall for the day so I may have to board the ship wearing chef’s whites. I hope not!