25 February 2006

Happiness, pride and relief on Lamb Day

As you can imagine, Chefette had a moment to savour this week. Her First Ever Cheque for catering services. Truly, although it is a mere fraction of previous pay slips awarded for the sweat of her brow during the investment banking days, she is infinitely happier. People, give in to your career change desires!

Anyway, my kitchen karma was dire at the start of the week. On Tuesday, I served undercooked chicken (a spatchcock poussin, in this case), had an insufficiently reduced sauce (too acidic and runny!!), and then missed my dessert service time by around 25 minutes. Not the most auspicious omen before the dinner party.

But it all turned around, and by Thursday I was in the zone. We had "creative lamb" that day, and had to serve a boned, stuffed shoulder of lamb per 2, along with an individual leg of lamb dish of our choice, with two garnishes. I did a Nigella Lawson recipe for marinated, butterflied leg of lamb, along with saute potatoes and a skewer of grilled marinated vegetables. It was a variation of dishes I'd done before, and so felt in control of the whole process and pretty pleased with the result. Things went so smoothly, I had time to make the gravy for the shoulder, and felt proud when my partner said he liked it. Felt even more proud when he proceeded to drink around 300 mls of it directly from a jug at room temperature. Hit all my service times that day, and even managed to help out a fellow student who was "in the weeds", by giving her one of my vegetable skewers to present when her dish didn't happen.

So I guess all of that good luck with lamb put me in a really relaxed mood before the dinner party (where I was cooking rack of lamb). I had done quite a bit of mise-en-place in the preceding days (racks of lamb french trimmed and dry marinated, stock and sauce bordelaise made, chocolate pots filled in the client's special ramekins, etc.). Not to mention trying out several presentations of dishes on the Husband. So I had a really good idea of how the evening needed to go when I dropped off the food and in a cab at the client's house before school.

And in the end it all went off pretty well. The exacting hostess commented favourably on the presentation of the starter. The lamb came out unevenly, but with enough pieces at medium-to-medium rare to serve out to all the guests with the correct degree of pinkness. The best part was just feeling calm, in control and able to work cleanly at my own natural pace.

The only minor crisis was when the top oven - a proficient but extraordinarily overengineered and tempermental beast that was faintly incompresensible to me - developed a fault and stopped working. Rather than faffing about, I calmly got the hostess, and with the aid of the manual, we managed between the two of us to figure out how to get it going again in about 5 minutes.

When I went to pick up my cheque the next morning, the hostess said she'd definitely use me again before June. And then when she paid, she rounded up the cheque a bit.

Gotta dash now, off to get the Saturday chores done. Will hopefully be making a Chocolate Roulade cake on Sunday morning.

1 comment:

Michaelene said...

So when can you PLEASE entertain our Garden Club? I love your Mom and Dad!!!!! And their stories about you certainly entertain us all the time - go Cheffette, go!Michaelene