Sunday night, candles, excitement in the warm autumn breeze… It was our annual girl’s dinner. An annual occasion when I stupidly decide to produce a 3 course meal for 6 eager and high-pitched females. There were a number of odds against me last night, all undeniably self-inflicted.
Day-long winery tours are unimaginably wonderful. Glass after glass of holy grape juice, party buses with loud music and even louder occupants. And the best bit? The looks from well-bred wine connoisseurs looking down their noses at us; the uncouth rascals of generation Y. What?! You don’t think it’s a good idea for me to do a drunk walrus impression on the tasting counter? Bollocks. It’s a brilliant idea. What?! The bus has left without us…. Oh no, scrap that, it’s just moved around the corner. Quickly, call all the troops I just txted saying I was stranded in the Yarra Valley. Crisis dissolved. As I said, winery tours are amazing. The next day is not so good. And so, when I decided to cook the meal the next night, well my hangover decided to kick my ass. Physically, mentally and spritually (OH GOD !!Why the fuck did I say I’d cook dinner??? That’s about as spritual as I get).
Oh yeah, and the recipe I decided to cook? Never cooked it in my life. But it was on MasterChef, so surely I could master it? Right…? Wrong.
Me: Hello Mr. Cute Butcher. May I please have one lamb saddle please?
Mr Cute Butcher: Sure sweetheart, flank on or off?
Me: Flank? That sounds hot… Umm, I’d like to say take it off, but unfortunately for this recipe, the flank must remain on. I think.
Mr. Cute Butcher: Flank on for the lady. So what are you exactly cooking? And what does the recipe ask for?
Me: See that’s just the problem! I reallllly don’t know, and it just says Lamb Saddle! (sweet, naive girly voice in full swing and roping cute butcher in)
Mr.Cute Butcher: That’s ok darlin’, we’ll sort it out. You just show me the recipe and I’ll handle the meat.
Me: Oh I bet you will!
Mr.Cute Butcher: Now, how long are you going to cook it for?
Me: Oh you! Hahaha. (cute girly laugh now working some magic)
Mr.Cute Butcher: Errm, yeh. So I think you should cook it for around 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Me: Really? My recipe said 15. Crap this recipe is going to be a fucking disaster. God, I’m an idiot….(Head hitting on bench repeatedly in time with hangover migraine)
Needless to say my cute,pathetic,naive girly voice transformed to panicky, helpless, hopeless case who desperately needed some sedatives. I’m pretty sure feminists around the globe would have sneered at the irony.
With the odds against me, my dinner actually wasn’t too bad. Sure, the lamb was slightly undercooked, border-line ‘baaaaaaing’ and the spinach ball looked like a combo of a gallstone and a cat’s hairball. But the real ‘piece de resistance’ was most definitely the Beetroot Glaze. Iraq’s been developing a weapon of mass destruction- I can guarantee it shall be no match for our Beetroot Glaze. This shit could kill nations.
I tried and tried and just couldn’t get the fucking glaze to work when my bestfriend Kate stepped in and took the reins. I was relieved to hear she’d been hiding her masterchef skills for the last 25 years, and was indeed a gastronomical genius. So she set to work boiling the glaze (in her words – “If everything else fails, just cook the shit out of it!”) and it actually started to resemble an edible sauce, rich in colour and thick in substance. So thick, it started to resemble toffee like my mum made for my school fairs when I was a kid.
The exact moment I became suspicious of Kate’s culinary skills was when she nervously whispered to me that we would have to put the sauce on last minute before serving and run the gauntlet to the table as fast as we had ever moved in order to give everyone their meals before the toffee-like substance sets on everyones plate’s. Masterchef-in-hiding, my ass.
The beetroot glaze set rock-hard on everyone’s plates wayyyy before we reached the table.. From now on when we have guests over, I will have to explain why there is a deep crimson lump on each of our 6 dinner plates. Someone claimed to have broken a tooth, but I suspect they were stirring poor Kate. Another victim- the fork whose prongs were badly injured and deemed futile. A possum may or may not have been killed as a result of someone frisbeeing the beet-toffee into the trees…
And so, I repeat. Beet, Port and Toffee should never be put together.