Thursday, February 17, 2011

An introduction, sort of.

Camera pans into wide world of food blogging and people who know what they’re doing in the kitchen. Enter me. Wannabe chef. Wannabe food blogger.


Having wanted to start my own foodblog for some time now, I feel that now, as in right this very second, is the moment. Not tomorrow. Not yesterday. Right now. Why? Well. What deterred me for so long was the awful inadequacy I felt when I stalked read other food blogs. The pictures were beautiful. They left me drooling. Sometimes I would catch myself nibbling corners of my computer screen (omnomnom...cake.....). The recipes were complex, and exciting. But more than that, what kept me off the internet waves was the fact that all these food bloggers out there seemed to never make mistakes. Or, when they did, they were such trivial silly little things and the food still looked and probably tasted amazing and I just sorta wanted to hit them over the head with something heavy and force feed them my latest concoction of oh-oh.

But I realise now; there must be more people like me out there. And if not, well surely somebody’s going to enjoy reading about my misendeavours in the kitchen.

Right? Right. Everybody likes laughing at someone.

Screen fades out. Camera pans to last night.

Last night. Oh, last night. Weeks of planning. A whole day of preparation. Shopping baskets and three runs to the store to grab stuff I had forgotten. And then last night.

You see, I’m a waitress and my boyfriend is an apprentice chef. This means that Valentine’s Day is the bane of our existence, the worst day of the year and easily the most unromantic event in our lives. It also means to layers of stress; stress for the physical day which we know will destroy us heart, mind and soul, and stress for the day that we chose to perform our sweet, Valentine’s-y activities on. Because it was has to totally rock otherwise it’s just another day of the week.

So what I decided to do was a three course dinner. The menu was sublime. Entree: Stuffed Portobello mushrooms. Rocket, kale and feta salad. Balsamic and shallot vinaigrette. Main: Filet Mignon in Bordelaise. Rosemary and white bean purée. Oven roasted vegetables. Balsamic honey glaze. (Well, I had eggplant and lentils instead of that dead cow business. Being vegetarian doesn’t lend well to eating filet mignon). Dessert: Bittersweet chocolate soufflé. Spun sugar. Honey chocolate sauce.

The mushrooms I figured would be easy. Really, how could I go wrong? And they were and they were great and he loved them and I patted myself on the back and felt smug.

Mains? I was a little very scared. Meat? Why? Bordelaise sauce? I couldn’t even taste it because it had stock in the stupid demi-glace (also, for those of you who don’t know; demi-glace is the other bane of my existence and my new mission in life is to STAMP IT OUT OF EXISTENCE for all the pain it caused me). But anyway.

I had everything prepared and everything would have gone great except that (of all things!), a circuit blew and the power to the oven and stove went off, so forty minutes later I was still labouring over the stove, cursing and yelling and poking the hotplates in a vain attempt to make them heat up. My boyfriend and my saviour eventually broke the stay-out-of-the-kitchen rule and came in to find me standing in the middle of what appeared to be a cyclone devastated kitchen crying and throwing bits of kale at the oven whilst cursing under my breath.

He hugged me, suggested he check the fuse box, got yelled at by me who thought it couldn’t POSSIBLY be that because the lights were on, checked it anyway, fixed the problem, came back in, hugged me, got kicked out of the kitchen and didn’t complain at all.

So eventually dinner was plated up. It was pretty and I wanted to take photos but given that his perfectly medium-rare meat (yay!) had been taken of the heat quite a while ago and was growing quite room-temperature I thought it best not to make him wait.

According to him everything was great, meat was perfectly cooked, sauce was awesome and the vegetables were delicious. His one criticism was that the bean purée was salty, but of course it was because rather than being able to simmer out the alcohol, and thus have a nicely balanced and well flavoured purée, I instead soaked mine in white wine for forty minutes and then couldn’t be bothered simmering it out because, well, it would just take TOO FLIPPING LONG.

So anyway. We decided to wash up after mains so that I could approach dessert with a clear mind. PSH.

I like soufflé. Usually I am quite good at it. Last night however, was special, so I thought I’d try and find an even better soufflé recipe. I chose one that used cocoa and water and a little bit of grated chocolate. I don’t know why the alarm bells weren’t ringing when it only required two egg whites and 75 grams of sugar. Regardless, I made the mixture (though I added an extra egg white and some extra grated chocolate) and put it in ramekins and on the night all I had to do was stick it into the oven. Apparently for 16 minutes. PSH.

When I checked them, they hadn’t risen at all. Like the soufflés, I was deflated, but I thought we should give them a go anyway. We did and found out why they hadn’t risen. They hadn’t cooked at all on the inside. Cue another ten minutes in the oven. This time they rose and I felt happier. Until I took a bite of one. Wow. They had been called ‘bittersweet chocolate soufflés’, but y’know, I only really got the ‘bitter’. Luckily I had made honey chocolate sauce as well otherwise dessert would have been a disaster. Or more of a disaster than it already was.

Eating it, I was seething. Obviously whoever had posted that god-awful recipe had done so for one purpose and one purpose only: to ruin my dessert/night/life (yes, I was that dramatic). And it had worked. So I seethed some more, had a few more bites and left half of it unfinished, vowing to get my revenge, and also promising my boyfriend to make him a better soufflé some other day. After I recover from this ordeal.

I went to bed furious at the whole day (or at least, the evening anyway), but waking up this morning I could see the humour. Sort of. Hopefully this is one of those things that I will look back on and laughing about, though for the moment it’s less of the laughing and more of the cringing. But, c’est la vie. It’s my birthday soon and for it I intend to make cake. So hopefully for that I shall have not only a nice recipe, but some decent pictures and a less embarrassing story to tell.


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