Feels very weird to be writing this. Advanced Term, Week, 9. Aka my last week at Leiths! Ok, technically I still have two more weeks of exams, graduation and one last fun group cooking task to go but I have had my last curriculum, written my last timeplan and had my last normal dish marked. It feels very surreal to be writing this and know that I won’t be writing ‘Bring on week 10!’ at the end. The last nine months have been a whirlwind, a rollercoaster, a journey and all the other X Factor style clichés out there. In fact, the ‘lasts’ all seemed to come in a hurry without warning and I don’t think it has really sunk in that my year of cooking is all but over and I only have two more sessions in the Leiths kitchen – one to cook a 3 course dinner party (that last group task) for 8 and one the dreaded practical exam. I don’t want to get too mushy and I have one more Leiths post planned, looking back at the last year, so here is what week 9, the last week, held for us…Making my own pasta was one of the things I was most excited about doing when I started Leiths so it seemed quite fitting that it was there again in my final week. This was a chicken and wild mushroom ravioli with broad beans, morels (we got a bag of morels each, each costing £22!) and Madeira cream sauce. The chicken filling meant a return to the dreaded mousseline making but after learning from previous goes (don’t skimp on the egg white, blitz heavily before sieving) it was much easier than fish quenelles, and much tastier too. I’m really going to miss the chances Leiths gives me to cook dishes like this – I don’t know how often I’ll just casually make my own ravioli at home. Hopefully remembering how much I liked this dish will be the push I need to make it a more frequent event. Our last week at Leiths ended with a bang – our craziest all day cooking session yet where we entered the kitchen at 9:45 and didn’t stop or leave until 4:30 that afternoon. We kept meaning to leave for lunch, but suddenly it was 2pm with a service time of 3pm and we all realised a break just wasn’t going to happen. After a morning of foie gras parfait (delicious until you eat too much and feel sick…), baking brioche and clearing a Sauternes jelly, the focus switched to our creative rabbit dish. This was essentially the savoury version of the plated dessert challenge as we were each given a whole rabbit, a list of ingredients, a service time and told to get cracking! After much deliberation (I really wanted to try a black pudding and rabbit Scotch egg) I made: a braised rabbit, pancetta and thyme pie, parma ham wrapped rabbit loin, potato puree, baby carrots and red wine jus. Aside from one forgotten pan disaster (when my teacher was thankfully out the kitchen) I was really pleased with how this dish turned out. It was busy but I served on time, my seasoning was the best I’ve done in a while and I finally got a chance to have a proper go at a potato puree so it was a lovely way to end. We got to tour the kitchens again once everyone had served and there were a huge range of ideas – one other pie, pastas, a variety of Scotch eggs, croquettes, mousselines and more. As someone said, we have come a long way from the hummus and crudites on Day 1 back at the start of October. Bring on…the summer?!