Friday 12 November 2010

Hell's Kitchen

Yesterday's AGM, a daunting enough event for any chief officer who recognises the uncompromising authority of the membership thus legally assembled, is a stroll in the park compared with the final "turn" of the day - me and Company Secretary Nicola Thomas preparing a three course meal in 25 minutes from scratch featuring ribald and frankly disruptive commentary from me and infinite patience and studious attention to the task in hand from Nicola. But we did it, and I think the grub looked okay. I promised a couple of people that I'd publish the recipes so here goes...

First Course
Tomato and Mozzarella salad with vinaigrette. I won't insult you with details of how to slice up the ingredients but the vinaigrette (aka French dressing) is important. Contrary to common practice in the UK it is a crime to add more than about 1 part vinegar to 6 parts oil (Hafal Deputy Chief Exec Alun Thomas' half-and-half admission was truly shocking). Greek olive oil is my other tip - bog-standard Kalamata better than most fancy Italian brands. Add seasoning, spot of mustard, and garlic to taste. We plonked a sprig of basil on top of the dressed dish for dinner-party presentation.

Second Course
Prawn stir-fry with noodles. For elf 'n' safety reasons we used an electric wok which worked quite well in spite of my sniffy contempt. The problem arose when trying to get the completed dish out onto the plates - short of tipping up the whole gadget we had to spoon the gloop out messily. We fried chopped spring onions and peppers plus carrot strips, mangetout peas, ginger and garlic in neutral oil with a dash of sesame oil then added prawns, fresh noodles and soy sauce, finishing off with torn coriander. For a veggie version leave out the prawns.

Third Course
Knickerbocker Glory. This was a healthy version (sounds unlikely, doesn't it?) based on a Mrs Blog trick, namely use of a pressurised canister of pure cream (watch out - most have sugar and other muck added but Anchor do a pure one). Basically you put fruit - we used raspberries, bilberries and blackberries - plus some crushed meringue interspersed with squirts of cream and finished off with a big Mr Softee-style squirt on top with a lone raspberry and sprig of mint. Total calories only about 150. How's that? Because the cream is expanded with a vast amount of air. However, do not prepare in advance - within minutes the cream collapses into a microscopic drip at the bottom of the glass.