This weekend my parents are throwing their third annual office party and for the third year in a row I’m heading over to Kentucky for an evening of unpaid but highly appreciated work. It’s really a simple affair- buffet style, and my expertise isn’t at all necessary but my mother would rather not deal with the stress of cooking and my father likes to claim that he’s flown in his private Chef. The fact that I’m not a chef and never have been is ignored and for one evening a year I’m The London (now New York) Chef. This year I will be accompanied my very own tried and tested wine waiter- my boyfriend. For a ‘wears-a-suit-to-work’ kind of guy- he’s extraordinarily good at playing the more subordinate and helping role of a bar waiter. So, now my father can proudly boast he’s flying in his Chef and Bar tender.
The problem is- seeing as I’m always cooking other peoples’ recipes, I tend to get carried away with the menu. If you’ve read any of my previous posts and recipes then you’ll know that I’m a simple cook, though I do like to add a few extra ingredients here and there. In other words, you wouldn’t find me bringing plain hot dogs and buns to a BBQ. I sent the proposed menu to my mother weeks ago:
Slow cooked leg of lamb, feta and herb salad, cod poached in olive oil with gremolata, roasted garlic and tomato tart…
“Sounds delicious. We’ll use salmon and put it on the grill”, my mother said.
“What’s lamb?”, asked my father’s secretary.
Being fed-up with making burgers at work all summer, I pleaded to my mother to allow me some creative liscence and go with the lamb
“Oh, don’t worry- it tastes a lot like beef when it’s slow cooked” my mother replied.
Organic leg of lamb cooked for seven hours in stock and wine at a low simmer until it peals off the bone in tender strands of succulence- and you want to say it’s BEEF!
Dessert is another headache altogether. This crowd loves desserts, which tend to be the main event and no matter how many I make the the FHB (Family Hold Back) rule always comes into effect. I make proper puddings (which are not as an American thinks- custards thickened with corn flour- or should I say corn starch?). Convincing the crowd isn’t hard- explaining what it is can be! Last year I made a summer pudding, hand picked berries and all. It was stared at a little ominously, until I cut into its glistening bread casing and the fruit came tumbling out. I had to called my peach and raspberry crumble a cobbler but the chocolate éclairs were devoured instantly and I was thanked very much for making such wonderful “cream puffs”. But how can I complain? They all enjoy my food and even if the lambs not quite tender enough for me, or my meringue crisp enough- I know that I will get huge compliments. What’s in a name anyway?
Continue reading ‘A RECIPE: Cheese & walnut gougeres’