Last week on the way to work I was pulled over as part of a drink driving campaign by the police (as in don’t drink drive, of course) and breathalysed. I’m pleased to report that I passed with flying colours and absolutely no alcohol present in my system. Star driver right here! Were I to be pulled over tomorrow morning however, I’m not so sure I’d be feeling quite so smug. I delved into The Little Paris Kitchen today and made chicken and mushrooms in a white wine sauce with some fluffy white rice for dinner. Considering this dish only contains half a glass of wine, the pairing of the winey sauce with aniseed tasting tarragon really intensifies the boozy taste leading you to think there is an obscene amount of wine contained in the sauce. Luckily there wasn’t, meaning I can sleep easy tonight knowing I’m perfectly legal to drive in the morning. Don’t drink and drive kids! I’ve not been doing a great deal of cooking this last week or so, we’ve been busy buying our very first home and going through the intense highs and lows of waiting for everything to be finalised. When you come home from work exhilarated that your offer on the dream house has been accepted, it’s hard to stop jumping around like a frog on acid for long enough to cook anything more testing than an oven pizza. I won’t go on for too long, as I’m fairly certain I’ve been boring everyone I know with how much we love this house and what we plan to do with it, but readers, it was truly love at first sight. I knew as soon as I’d seen it that no other house would match up so its no understatement to say that I would have fought tooth and nail to ensure we got the house. Thankfully I didn’t have to resort to violence of any kind, and we should be moving in in the New Year – celebrate good times come on! Whether I will have time for cooking then is a concern that brings me out in a cold sweat at night, as there is a lot of work to be done on dream house and this blog may turn into a DIY and home makeover blog, horror of horrors. I shan’t let it happen! If there are tummies to fill and books to cook from, then I will be there, cooking in a kitchen last renovated in the 1970’s while covered in paint and plaster.
Now that the excitement has died down a little, I feel more capable of cooking. The Little Paris Kitchen has a lot of recipes that I want to try but with fussy pants home I’m trying to play it safe and go with recipes I think he’d like, and LPK has very few of those things in it. He’s not a big fan of French food and now he’s not a fan of chicken and mushrooms in white wine sauce. It does sound very much like a Chicken Tonight jar of sauce, but the homemade sauce takes a bit of time resulting in a silky smooth, flavourful sauce that packs a winey punch you’d be hard pushed to find in a jar. Too much of a punch for The Boyfriend, but I enjoyed it and certainly wouldn’t turn it down if offered again. It’s the perfect store-cupboard sauce if like me you always have flour, butter, cream, wine and lemons in the house. I used to be a massive div when making sauces from scratch and they would always end up lumpy, but then I learnt the most obvious of cookery skills, following basic instructions. Simple but so easy to overlook, at least in my case anyway. Basically, if the recipe says to add the liquid gradually, heed this advice instead of chucking it in all in one go as you will only end up with a lumpy mess. No one wants to eat a lumpy mess. This much I’ve learnt, professional chefs writing cookbooks know better than me how to make sauces. In other Cookbook Neglector news, my Christmas cake is continuing to be fed a healthy diet of brandy once a week. I’m not sure how much I’m meant to use, it could be a really boozy cake by the time I’ve finished with it, but hey, it is Christmas after all. I’m just itching to ice and decorate it but will have to bide my time until its completely and utterly rat-arsed. Only then can I blanket it in a snug duvet of marzipan and icing before its devoured slice by slice over the festive period. I just hope it’s worth all this time, effort and brandy!