There is no longer any escaping the fact that we are over halfway through this last ten week term. I found this to be a savoury and presentation based week with challenges ranging from snails to sweetbreads (such a misleading name) and as usual I am sad that I am one week closer to the end!The week started with a a creative cooking session – a sea bream, a list of extra ingredients and two hours to get cooking. Creative cooking pressure is different from day to day following the curriculum with new worries about being judged on imagination and creating something of ‘an appropriate advanced term standard’ but it’s also really fun to try something on your own. I made a courgette and lemon risotto, slow roast tomatoes and courgette chips to accompany my pan fried sea bream and it was fascinating to walk between the kitchens and see the huge range of dishes all created from the same ingredients. A tomato and mozzarella salad might not sound very advanced term, but sometimes simplicity is underrated. This probably ended up being my favourite thing we made all week! I think the main purpose of making this dish was to take advantage of the short asparagus season and also practice making two identical plates for a change. It was also a chance to practice preparing frisee lettuce – the weirdest ingredient where you only use the pale inner, slightly anaemic looking leaves and discard all the vibrantly green but also intensely bitter leaves. Also – slow roast tomatoes are my unexpected new addiction. So good!This week’s all day cooking focused on rehearsing skills – particularly for the above seared tuna, fennel, asparagus and radish salad and vegetable vinaigrette. We spent 45 minutes chopping vegetables into petit brunoise (miniscule dice) for the vegetable vinaigrette. This was faintly ridiculous (and depressing when the whole dish is eaten in about 5) but when you have teachers combing through your diced onion picking out diamonds and rectangles you become very determined to produce those perfect squares! I think speedy knife skills really show a professional chef so it was good to practice – but also a relief to get to use a mandolin for the salad.Try as I might, on Friday I could not get my sablee aux fraises to stand straight (such problems). My teacher comes over (sadly post photo), gives it one adjustment and it was perfect ! Magic. There was more double trouble as again we served two identical portions, and this time there was more of a challenge to get two identical swirls of raspberry coulis. This tasted great at school (I still find raspberry coulis drinkably gorgeous) but a little less so by the time it had experienced a journey home (via the pub) in a plastic bag… Bring on week 7!