"Hell, it's only food. Just enjoy it." Jill Dupleix
Jill Dupleix always looks amazingly carefree and confident in her photographs, but then she has every reason to be so why should I be surprised? Still I am trying to live up to that quote with respect to tomorrow's lunch.
I am completely uninspired today because I'm beginning to fret about tomorrow's lunch. It's crowding everything else out of my brain. Not actually because of the guests who I'm sure will be polite and happy - no - more because of my own hangups and anxieties. And what worries me most is whether my lovely husband will enjoy the whole experience.
For example I have already found out that mushrooms are yet another thing I did not realise he did not really like, and with the combination of fish it is a real downer. "Where is the meat?" he said. "People will want meat" - by which I suspect he means he wants meat. So I am busily thinking of ways to adapt and please. I know. I shouldn't.
Coupled to the mushroom thing was not liking soft mushrooms. They need not to be squishy and fungal apparently. Well at least that made me go back to the recipes and see which one could most meet the not squishy characteristics. So I have chosen Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's open tart I think. It seems to me that the mushrooms must dry off a bit, maybe even crisp up, as they cook in the oven. And perhaps I could add a bit of ham or bacon to the mushrooms. Maybe some thyme too - having bought a largish bunch this morning for the other Nigel Slater options. And it is possibly the easiest of all of the options too. That's a bonus.
That's messing with the recipe a bit - something I am never sure about, because, mostly if I stick absolutely to a recipe it turns out rather better than if I fiddle. And having been put off by may latest fridge raid dish the other day - the spinach/filo thing - which almost makes me gag when I think about it - I'm even more wary about fiddling with the recipe and/or striking out on my own. But then Heston Blumenthal says (in another of my quotes on my Quotes page):
"in my view, the continual bombardment of quick and simple recipes is doing nothing to teach us how to cook. We are in serious danger of becoming slaves to recipes, rather than having the confidence to be able to walk along a supermarket aisle, or look through fridge and cupboard, to see what can be conjured up."
So I guess what I'm planning to do is a compromise. But then again I might change my mind again before tomorrow.
I have also suffered a bit of a failure with my cake which has sunk in the middle, which probably means it's soggy in the middle. Not sure why that happened. Wrong tin maybe. Mine was a centimetre too small which I reasoned would not matter. But obviously it did. I have made this cake before and it didn't sink then, but I have a vague feeling I used a bigger tin. Who would have thought a centimetre would have made such a difference?
And will barberries and walnuts with the salmon just be too much? He doesn't like walnuts that much either. I do though, and probably so does everyone else. Besides it will be interesting.
So I shall have to just keep repeating Jill's mantra -"Hell it's only food. Just enjoy it" as I go to sleep tonight and as I wake in the morning. I mean she's right. The food doesn't really matter. I'm sure it will be at least alright. It's just the excuse for a reunion. What's important is spending happy times with good friends. A glass or two of special wine should help.