Archive for April, 2013

Professionalism

April 17, 2013

Looking through some notes I had made in an old spiral reporter’s pad, I discovered a quotation I had copied down whilst reading Alistair Cooke’s (1956) book ‘Six men’ (published by Bodley Head)

A professional is a man who can do his best work when he doesn’t feel like it. (p.136)

Fascinating notion! Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.

 

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Easter Sunday lunch

April 1, 2013

I cooked Sunday lunch for five persons. I started with watercress soup, inspired by the recipe in Raymond Blanc’s Kitchen Secrets book (although I deviated from it in several minor respects). The result was exceedingly tasty. I served it with Creme Fraiche and home-made croutons.

Watercress soup

Next up I made my own pasta (again following the good advice of Raymond Blanc) and had the satisfaction of rolling it through my machine. I constructed ravioli, and made a filling of fried shallots, mushrooms and strawberries (with a teaspoon of soy sauce thrown into the pan for good measure). I served new potatoes with the pasta and made a green salad with feta cheese and black olives, to go with it. I forgot to cook a sauce, so it was a bit dry. However, the taste of the filling worked well for me.

 

For desert, I made some plain short-crust pastry, peeled and cored some eating apples, stuffed the hole left from de-coring with fresh raspberries, wrapped each apple in thinly rolled pastry, painted them with an egg wash and then baked them in the oven at Mk V for 30 mins. I served them cold with double cream. Since one of the diners had requested a sugar-free desert, I used zero sugar to make it. For anyone with a sweet tooth, I placed a bottle of maple syrup on the table and left them to help themselves. I found that there was no need for any kind of sweetening, since the apples were eating apples, not sour cookers like Granny Smiths. I based this recipe on one taken from The Best of Sainsbury’s Desserts.

Baked Apple

 
It so happened that the recipe for ravioli appeared on p.139 (in a book of roughly 300 pages) and the recipe for baked apple also appeared on p.139 (in a book of roughly 150 pages). The chance of picking this precise combination might be thought to be approximately 1/150 x 1/300 which comes to 1:45000. If I were to cook lunch each week on a Sunday, on a random basis (at a rate of 52 lunches per year), it would take approximately 865 years for me to get around to this combination again.

The meal was concluded with coffee, crackers and stilton cheese. I have to admit that on this occasion, as on many others of this nature, I tended towards the Keith-Floydian style of amateur cheffery. Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.