This weekend has been very relaxing with a bit of funny thrown in. On Friday my friend Tamsin came up from Gippsland with a freshly knocked off rooster (and a half) that she had just done in herself and plucked. Stashed in her luggage with lemons and garlic and waved happily through the gatekeepers. It was for a birthday dinner for me seeing as I will be away overseas when I'm forced to declare myself no longer a 30 something. (What have been my achievements??! Are they significant enough?)
We (well mainly she) cooked a coq a vin type dish of Rooster in Red Wine from my Ripailles cookbook by Stephane Reynaud. A slightly daunting - but rewarding for those who are game - tome of traditional frenchy recipes from all over. Hearty stuff, nose to tail food, lots of cream and butter and all that. Anyway, we had to flambe the rooster with cognac whilst trying not to say 'sh*t, f*ck, sh*t' too loudly in front of Elodie, and which I definitely want to do again - the flambeing not the swearing! I thought I was generous with the herbs, but Tamsin makes the most bounteous bouquet garni I've ever witnessed in a pot! It is rather strange though, watching someone else cook in your kitchen. I thought my kitchen was rather well stocked with equipment and ingredients but after watching Tambo fussing around, I've realised that I need a bigger casserole pot, more saucepans generally, all my utensils are in the wrong spot and that I should definitely hide the Saxa salt when other people come over!
I imagined people who live on farms and collect eggs and hussle cows would have fond feelings for Saxa salt but it took her all of 30 seconds to ask casually, whilst staring away from the offending product, if by any chance I had any french salt. Yes, of course I do...... but what about the iodine? The madness? How will we stave it off if we use French salt all the time? Oh and the goiters, she said. Goiters? I didn't know that lack of iodine could bring on the goiters. I'm a Virgo, I get things by just thinking about them, I can't be thinking about Goiters! People can think what they like, I am not hiding that Saxa salt. But I think I will buy a pretty vessel for it to be disguised in so as not give off the impression that I have no culinary idea.
Anyway a bloke came over for dinner that we knew through friends but didn't really know. I was nervous beforehand and begging our mutual friend to come too, but they're busy about to have a baby any second so it was just the four of us. But we had a great night, the rooster was delicious and we had Tamsin's macerated prunes in brandy for dessert, made from her own french plums or something. I can be a social cripple and coward sometimes but there's something to be said for getting to know people in your own home. It's convenient and you have the added advantage of having all your treasures around to divert attention from or add further embellishment to who you might be. I definitely recommend it.
The Winery in Surry Hills
I've discovered that Elodie is a girl about town. I want her to have a life outside the city, but I think she may be a true city dweller. She knows most of the local cafe and shop people. She knows which butchers have red frogs stashed under the counters and how to wrangle a free chocolate from the guy at the checkout of the deli. "Does chocolate taste nice?" she asks innocently as if it's a rumour she's yet to confirm. Most of them fall for it and hand a small one over, all the while probably thinking what a stingy mother I must be.
On Saturday we had breakfast basked in glorious sun at Pieno which is next to The Winery on Crown St, Surry Hills. I had decided previously not to eat there as once I saw the coffee guy take out rubbish to the garbo bins outside and then head straight back in to make the coffees without washing his hands. But I've given in and decided to pretend that I didn't see that because if I really thought about it, I'd never eat anywhere.
Anyway, Elodie met a friend from preschool and they did the usual things, running around like maniacs leaving us in peace. It's always a joy to discover a friend for your kid when you are out. I'm more than happy to turn a blind eye and pretend I don't know her when she has a friend and she's bothering someone else! It was when I looked over at Lodie and her friend huddling together comparing games on their parents iPhones while the little brother in a high chair was yelling out " I want my coffee! " that I thought that Lodie might actually be a city kid. And then I knew it to be so when she went missing for awhile and Tim found both her and her friend sitting at a table in The Winery, each with a glass of milk! I haven't even been there for a drink but my four year old has! And on the house! The place is always packed with everyone having a swish time and then there's Elodie who saunters in when the place is closed and orders her and a mate a glass of milk! God knows where she gets the nerve.....