Friday, October 23, 2015

Le Shoe Parfait

Alas, not an ode to the perfect shoe.

There is a highly useful piece of kitchen equipment called a Vitamix Vita-Prep - a blender. Relatively fool-proof to use. You'd imagine. 

So. About that.

While it may seem like a fairly straightforward step in the process of using a blender always ensure you put the lid on. Tight.

Otherwise there will be an episode. A combination of partially blended chicken livers, foie gras, emulsified butter and eggs all over your shoes. Your apron. Your hair. Your face. And the ceiling. As you watch the livers slide off your shoes onto the tiles you start to feel a little like this:

Image source Wikipedia

You brush the congealed butter off your face and flashback to this time last year when you were sitting at your desk with your manicured hands in your business suit typing away on your emails delighted with yourself. 

Time to go home and cry into your calloused hands.

You won’t forget to tighten it next time, will you? 

Thought not. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Broad Bean Gate

Before I started learning how to cook professionally I imagined I'd glide elegantly around the kitchen in my Birkenstocks, stirring sauces, sipping stocks, adding a pinch of salt, another sprig of thyme. A sprinkle of cracked black pepper. A serene presence. Smiling sweetly as I conjured up another batch of pomme purée with the sleight of a hand. 

Within a few weeks-days-hours I had turned into a stark raving lunatic. 

What follows is a series of incidents where any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. 

Like this one time. With the broad beans. 


stage is where you basically work for free in a restaurant kitchen to gain experience. 

During a stage your main aim is to stay out of the way, be helpful and not cause any hassle to the kitchen. Note: not to cause any hassle to the other chefs is really your main aim. 

If they ask you to cook  a load of broad beans and peas you should probably have the foresight not to throw them all in the same pan and cook them together.

Had you not had the foresight to do this you will now spend the next 58 minutes separating them. Feeling like the world’s biggest plonker as the rest of the chefs look on grinning. You probably won’t be coming back there again. 

Image source Wikipedia
The broad bean, not to be confused with the pea

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Oh hello again...

So for the last year and a half I sort of disappeared from Cuisine Genie.

Time passed and glancing guiltily at old posts I figured it would be silly to start writing on here again. This blog seemed more associated with my old life (as a HR Manager, as I was when I first started it) and sure wasn't I too busy now learning how to cook and writing my fancy newspaper column?

Oooo  yeah. Remember Mr. Moustache's lunch box? Well turns out other people like them too. And I've somehow ended up with a column all about the humble lunch box for the London Evening Standard. Except this is now about lunch boxes inspired by my favourite London restaurants and their signature dishes. And now you can read all about turning restaurant dishes into simple lunch boxes. If that kind of thing floats your boat you can read about it here. And if it doesn't well that's ok, I get that some people don't swoon about lunch boxes. 

So there I was writing about lunch boxes. Trying to cook. Living the dream in the big city, well chuffed that for the moment at least I won't have to hang my head in shame and skulk back to the corporate world.  But still my little blog lies neglected, slowly gathering dust in cyber space. Each week my mum would ring and demand to know when my next update would be. 'But I'm really busy with work and y'know writing about the lunch boxes and y'know I just don't have time...'. And I'd roll over, turn on Netflix and figure I'd start writing again on it some day.

Then just this evening I figured I'd do it. (I'd watched the last episode of Narcos). I started this blog before the crazy journey from HR to kitchens began and now that I'm a little way into it well it might just be the right time to keep going. 

Perhaps now is a good time to share with you all the mistakes, disasters and general catastrophes that feature in learning how to cook professionally. So g'wan, pull up a chair, pour a cup of tea and read about what happens when I stopped talking about it and just did it. (except I actually kept talking and sometimes I can't stop and that probably gets really annoying, but you know what I mean it's good to talk isn't it?).