Normally, I’m a relaxed hostess and well prepared.
Today was the annual apple pie lunch for three friends, B, L and R. Normally we do it in September, but it had been postponed while I was in Geneva.
Despite a tiny, tiny, tiny kitchen I had everything worked out mentally for the meal to be prepared with little effort leaving the kitchen clean and me relaxed by the time my friends arrived. It was not to be.
· Couscous with olives, raisons, pecans, coriander and parsley
· Chicken slow cooked in Mid Eastern spices
· Green beans al dente and sautéed in olive oil, fresh garlic and tomatoes.
· Champagne to celebrate that they are great friends
· Home made apple pie New England style
Last night, I thought I’d get a head start. I set the table and thought I’d bake the apple pie.
Wrong. I was out of sugar.
Early this morning I was at the corner store and confessed to Babette, from whom I’d bought the apples yesterday, I was out of sugar. She was out of normal sugar. Another sugar was too powdery, but I was happy with the red sugar.
Back home the Crisco pie crust had never been easier to roll out. The apples almost fell into the pan. The crust decoration worked first time. I felt smug.
I put the pie in the oven, cleaned up all the pie making stuff and started to roll the chicken in the spices…just like any winning Master Chef contestant, I thought.
Then I peeked at the oven. The top of the pie was the colour of charcoal. I didn’t check the oven setting and I had broiled my pie. A couple of people had stayed in my flat, and I suspect one of them changed the setting.
I replaced the crust and cleaned up again and went back to mixing the spices. I had replenished all my Mid Eastern and Indian spices before I left. None were to be found. Had I checked the day before, I could have bought fresh spices from my spice man on the marché.
Back to the cornerstore. Babette tried hard not to laugh as I explained my predicament.
Fortunately she had what I needed saving a several block walk.
I wanted to take a photo of the mess, but my camera batteries were dead.
To speed the clean up of the Crisco in the measuring cup I used boiling water. Three minutes later for a reason that can only be called stupidity I picked up the cup spilling the almost boiling water on my hand.
I now had one hour to prepare an hour and half meal.
I would like to stay the rest went smoothly…I can say it by not mentioning the heavy pan I dropped on my foot.
My guests arrived.
When the four of us together, we laugh, share wisdom won at great prices, catch up on ordinary news, extraordinary news, check our sense of reality . . . what friends do.
The meal was late, but good.
And the broiled pie with the substitute crust.
My friend B. said it was the best I’d ever made. Maybe the secret is broiling the first crust.