This has been the month to perfect ourselves and prove that we are wonderful strong willed individuals with unique talent and skills.
Luckily most of the town was out with the flu so we had an abundance of excuses from the start.
The hardest thing for chefs to do is to cook at home. Cooking is an act of love and should be entered into only with that main feeling driving you forward. Good chefs put this into everything they create in a working day, this takes so much out of you that it is very hard to muster the ability at home.
The home kitchen is never perfect, we never have the perfect tools or space to work in. We do not have our perfect knives or blue polishing cloth at the ready for rims. We do have a multitude of distractions and procrastinations instead (shovelling the drive with a beer or two?).
The biggest disappointments are the spoons. For a true perfectionist nothing beats a wonderfully deep welled spoon. A delight for flipping meats, rolling fish and basting vegetables. Kunz spoons are available in Canada and wlll cost you way more than you are willing to spend, but perfection darlings!
Food is expensive to buy in its rawest forms and this makes it all too easy to simply eat out. This then provides us risk. In a world filled with assessments and worries over the littlest things, why would we ever gamble at making something new at home? The cost of failure can be quickly calculated by the shopping bill plus the take out food cost, a staggering number for a dinner.
But we must make these mistakes and have the confidence that if we love the people we are cooking for enough (even for yourself!) then our attention of affection will carry us through to something special. Many a good ‘self-help’ book (I do despise that term) is all about learning to fail. Maybe read a book on the matter if all keeps going awry, cookbook or self-help.
I am in the market for 80%. I know that for myself that number is better than the neighbours and it always leaves me room to fall whilst giving me something to improve on next time. If you can hit the 100% let me know and we can get some fresh eyes to critique it back down to honesty!
When recently hosting a dinner for some vegan friends we went to the simple techniques that make us look flashy to the unknowing, this is the sweet course. This is the easiest sweet as all it takes is the love of tasting regularly, not skill or technique, nor even really time.
Maple roast squash, pepita clusters and
1 squash or pumpkin
Campari if your lucky
Cut up a squash however you please (but do save the seeds) and dress with oil and maple.
roast at a medium low heat until beautifully coloured and cooked.
For the clusters combine vanilla, maple syrup, sugar and a splash of water till tasty and toss with the seeds from before.
Shape in little clusters and toast in the oven until golden.
Juice a grapefruit or two
season with icing sugar and maybe a splash of Campari if you have it.
Freeze and scrape every so often.