Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Emma, The Walking Disaster

When I was working at the patisserie, I had a special nick-name given to me by the master. 'Emma Catastrophe' pronounced the French way. So basically every time I dropped a hot tray, rolled a wonky escargot, or someone mixed the incorrect quantities of ingredients together for anything (something that happened A LOT for some reason), my boss would walk in and go 'Ah la la, Emma Catastrophhhhh!'. It drove me nuts. As if I didn't generally feel like a royal moron already. There was a song that went with it too, but I won't go into that. 
Monday was only my second day back but the curse of being a walking disaster has already come back. Sure, on paper I look like a pretty competent and efficient cook. But when I'm bad, I'm pretty dumb. It's mostly burning stuff that I have a problem with these days. The incorrect quantities thing doesn't matter so much at Gas, as anything other than cakes and pastries are generally repairable. So I burnt some sausages when I went upstairs to express some breast milk (is anyone else other than me actually checking things in the oven?), burnt some pastries at the end of the day (again same question), knocked over the giant pepper mill a hundred odd times and nearly forgot two items of catering. Argh. I could have bashed my head against the wall. Sometimes I do wonder exactly what career I'm naturally suited to. I love being in the kitchen and I can't imagine wanting to do much else, other than write (and I don't think a major in creative writing did anything to inspire some talent in that department), but I was born a sort of absent-minded klutz and I suppose I will die by those very symptoms. Anyway I've got to buck up because I'm fairly sure I'm the most disposable member of staff at the moment. Sure it didn't help that it was 34 degrees and my brain fairly melts in hot weather, but now that it's not possible to just crash and burn when I get home, I've got to stay on top of things or risk falling off the edge of the Earth completely. Sound dramatic? I like over-reacting.
I nicked these pictures off the cafe's website. The above egg dish we don't actually make like that. It was invented for the promo pictures. It's delicious though. An enormous pan of it like this would feed about 8 people, but usually it's done in a miniature pan. Turkish tomato sauce, eggs poached in the sauce, topped with fried haloumi, parsely, paprika and served with toast. About the best winter breakfast dish in existence. The green olives were added just for the picture, though they go awfully well. 
And we have a wonky image of the sandwich display in the store. My only claim to fame is that I can be bloody fast. I'll make 55 flatbreads and baguettes in an hour and a half. That's the record! Everything else I do too fast. All speed and no brain. Should I have become a rare female motorcycle racer (but I have no sense of balance)? 
At least I have my own money now and can afford to take Josh out to dinner for his birthday next Monday! La Luna, his absolute favourite. And I bought myself Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall's River Cottage Everyday cookbook. His books are the most useful I've ever come across! Not only are the recipes seasonal, simple and totally delicious sounding, but he always includes ingredient alternatives or seasonal alternatives and appropriate accompaniments. It's the kind of cookbook that Josh can read and sort of understand. And that's an achievement. Not a picture of a bicycle in sight. 

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