Another day, another cookery programme. My television guide is bursting at the staples with them. If I could earn Michelin stars by merely watching cookery programmes, I would be a top three star Michelin chef. The crème de la crème of fine dining.
Alas, I am merely an observer. It’s kind of hard to chop, stir and experiment when you no longer have your own kitchen. On the rare occasion I cook in my mothers kitchen, she can’t help standing over me and adding her pearls of wisdom. I always insist she sits down and relaxes for once, she always insists that she finds it virtually impossible to. I predict that she doesn’t like to take her eyes off me in case I set fire to my hair / the kitchen table / the house.
Okay, I did burn the kitchen table once, a very long time ago. We now have to dress the table in a checked tablecloth, full time, so the burn marks do not show. Holy Moses, I was not a popular daughter when she first discovered the burn marks on her relatively new and very expensive pine table. “You wait until you buy a house with nice things, and someone ruins your table!” I remember her saying. She was right though, after purchasing a newly varnished coffee table, when I finally left home, it lasted all of two days before it was permanently damaged by a very careless individual. I was hopping mad! My mothers words and my clumsiness came back to haunt me.
I have a certain friend who allows me to cook in their kitchen and we have conjured up a few roast dinners in our time. Please note there is no kitchen table in this friends kitchen and the dining table is always smothered with place mats when I arrive. I love cooking roast dinners - chopping, peeling, boiling, stuffing, roasting, seasoning, stirring, checking, and sipping wine whilst it’s all going on. It would be fair to say our roast dinners are HUGE and take AGES and we drink ENOUGH wine in the process. We always cook tonnes of food. I’ll be found with my head in a cookery book saying, “Let’s try this!” and finding a novel way to cook carrots or anything else we can lay our hands on.
The other night I was watching the classic roast dinners on Master Chef. “Look at those tiny meals,” I thought to myself. “I know it’s fine dining but I’ve roasted bigger King Edwards than the entire size of that meal.” I even texted my friend to see if they were watching, stating, "Have you seen the size of the roasts on Master Chef? We could show them how to cook one! My dolls house meals are larger than theirs.” On the other hand, maybe our roast dinners are too big. They could feed an army of one thousand hungry men, with one over-flowing, full to the brim plateful. Phew, that's a lot of food.
As well as Master Chef I have been tuning into Come Dine with Me, Step Up to the Plate and The Restaurant. The Restaurant is the latest culinary reality show, starring Raymond Blanc. Nine couples open their own restaurant (courtesy of Ray) with a different concept per restaurant, and each couple compete for the chance to work in Raymond Blanc's legendary dining experience – Le Manoir. Wow, check out the establishment here: http://www.manoir.com/web/olem/olem_a2a_home.jsp
If anyone cares to escort me to Le Manoir and has lots of spare cash (3 Michelin star establishments are not cheap) I would happily oblige!
Anyway. There are tears, tantrums, back stabbings and gas leaks in this programme. Not to mention some impressive cooking skills. In fact, I’ve been invited to a friends house for dinner tomorrow night and I couldn’t stop myself from emailing her to enquire whether we could tune into The Restaurant. After chatting and eating, of course. It would be rather rude and odd to enter my friends house and plonk myself in front of her telly for the night, avoiding any conversation or eye contact with her. Unfortunately we won’t be viewing The Restaurant, we’re going to watch Celebrity Come Dine with Me instead. Even better. Famous and not so famous, but they think they are famous, contestants allowing the viewer to nose around their homes and watch them cook and entertain other famous and not so famous stars. This is the perfect escapism after a busy day in the office. No doubt my friend and I will be shouting comments at the screen, and adding our opinions to the menus and the attention grabbing hosts.
And you never know, maybe one day soon I’ll have my own kitchen table, to entertain on and burn to my hearts content. Hey, there’s always checked tablecloths to hide the damage.
Picture of the day:
Le recipe box