Now normally, the prospect of a chore weekend would cast a bit of a shadow on my mood, as it means no time for a long, slow lunch on Saturday (one of my favourite things to do in Paris). But this time the blow is slightly softened by the fact that I have booked my first ever external catering job. I have been asked to do a dinner party for 10-12 people next month, by a client who wants to hire a student. Thankfully, there's plenty of lead time for me to get organised, make lists, and fit in a couple of practice cooking sessions to see how much I can (successfully) prep in advance.
One of the most well-loved and experienced teachers at the school is always passing along little tips and suggestions for when we start going out on jobs. I'll call her Auntie, as she is in many ways a British version of my Aunt Jeanine, particularly in her enthusiastic fondness for Christmas and for cake decorating (she's the nice one who didn't make me use the Disaster Pastry back in the first term). Anyway, her advice is really good, and she had quite a few pearls of wisdom from the pasta dem today which I thought the ambitious home cook contingent might appreciate.
- Never wash your pasta rolling machine. Simply brush off excess flour/particles and then rub dry with a clean tea towel. It will never perform as well again if you wash it.
- Never sprinkle your pasta rolling machine with flour. Instead, put the flour onto the pasta, then roll it through. To sprinkle on the machine gunks up the works.
- Put a whole handful of salt into a large pot of boiling water for pasta. Italians apparently think anything less makes the pasta taste insipid.
- Always have an emergency bag of fresh pasta on hand at a job -- ideally homemade -- so that you could make something simple for a finicky eater or unannounced vegetarian at the last minute.
Gotta dash, and get myself packed. A bientot.