To say things have been a tad fraught is an understatement.
The times they are a changing.
In a radical U-turn,having decided that perhaps a career in hospitality might suit her after all(though not working for ones parents, apparently..),I deposited Only Daughter a la Tartan Isle last week.She's been brushing up on her Polish with the thoughtful phrase book which Chef kindly tucked into her back pack as a leaving gift..
The Apprentice made a safe return from his long planned trip.Having blown six months wages on a five day extravaganza in the Big Apple during which he dined on Hanger steak and was wowed by the service at Brasserie les Halles(yes, he's been reading Anthony Bourdain),visited the Museum of Modern Art(his first love),ate numerous bagels and hot dogs,and attended Rock the Bells.Quite a change from last years modest sojourn.
And the highlight of the trip?? I quote: 'skateboarding the length of Fifth Avenue in and out of the traffic..'
Sigh.He's always been,well.Different...
Ones fingers were chewed to the quick of ones elbow for the full five days..
So,that's the terrible twins taken care of.
The Sensible One has returned to uni to continue his Food Technology course,having decided after a summer spent behind the bar and in the kitchen,that perhaps he would be well advised to give the practical side of the food industry a wide berth.Maybe a career in Food Journalism or Food Development.
At least one of us has some sense..
Back at the ranch things are uncharacteristically quiet.
Its business as usual of course.
Down at the pub we've been talking autumn foods,game,stews and hearty puds.My favourite time of year.
Last week Pubchef knocked up a hearty soup.
Prior to writing the days menu,I enquired as to the nature of the days soup.
'Cock-a-Leekie' responds Pubchef.
As an afterthought I strolled over to the steaming stock pot and peered inside.
Self: 'That's not Cock-a-Leekie soup'
Pubchef:'Yes it is,in a round about way..'
Self:'No it isn't.I can see plenty of Cock(!) but no bloody Leekie'
Pubchef:'Call it Cock-a-Leekie.it sounds better'
Self:'No it doesn't,it only sounds better if it is bloody Cock-a-Leekie'
Self:Is it a thin soup?'
Pubchef:'no not really'
Self:'I cant see any prunes in there..'
Pubchef:'People don't want prunes'
Self:How do you know??If someone orders a Cock-a-Leekie soup,what they expect is a properly made Cock-a-Leekie soup,resplendent with leeks,prunes and plentiful Cock. Not some bloody imposter..'
Self:What's in the soup??
Self:(folding arms)So its not Cock-a-Leekie soup is it?What we have here m'lord is a Chicken and vegetable broth.
I rest my case, your honour.
Pubchef:You can't call it that,it doesn't sound very good.
Self:Why not??That's what it is..its not about how it sounds its about how it tastes..
We compromised on Chicken and Vegetable soup..
I made some fresh bread rolls to accompany,recipe from Shaun Hills Merchant House Cook book.As Shaun himself says 'perfect for tearing and sharing.'
|Shaun Hills perfect baps|
Helped out by the inclement weather, the Chicken and Vegetable Soup flew out.
A couple of days later the soup was almost gone.
Towards the end of a particularly busy lunchtime service Ems appeared in the kitchen and requested a quick bowl of soup for lunch.
'Great' said Pubchef 'that's the last gone'(every Chef loves it when any particular menu item gets used completely without discarding any,gives a welcome warm glow..)
I wandered over to the pan and absent mindedly tasted the last dregs of the soup.
'I can taste orange..'
Pubchef:(nonchalantly)'There is a bit of orange in there'
Self:'What????You put orange in a chicken and veg broth?'
Pubchef:'Well,not exactly orange,orange zest,just a bit'
Self:So all week hungry diners have been ordering a hearty Chicken and veg broth but what they've actually been troughing on a is a bowl of steaming but lumpy Lemsip???'
Clasping my hands to the top of my head,lest it explode like the pressure cooker it is,I bent over double from from the waist and stayed there momentarily whilst I gained some semblance of composure.
At that point,right on cue, Ems returned to the kitchen complete with empty soup bowl.
Ems:'Well,that was ...different'
Self:'In what way??'(Nodding overly enthusiastically..)
Ems:'Well it tasted of..oranges....'
Reader,you would have thought that we had rehearsed it.
I looked at Pubchef with raised eyebrows,palms upwards,shrugging shoulders and shaking ones head vigorously.
One is aware of exhibiting increasingly exaggerated Fawltyesque tendencies.