Tag Archives: tomatoes

Joining the Breakfast Club

This week was my turn to cook at The Breakfast Club, a pop-up restaurant run by the oft-mentioned Rachel. It was also the hottest week of the summer so far, with temperatures topping 30 at the weekend.

It was late on Friday evening when I wondered whether I could stand the heat – and if not, whether I should get out of my kitchen. I’d dried the tomatoes for hours in a warm oven. Said oven was now heating up again, this time to welcome my Portuguese custard tarts. I was boiling kettle after kettle of water to turn into iced tea. And everything I touched was starting to melt.

Such was the intensity of the heat that at one point, an apparition came to me. There, at the far end of my kitchen, a mirage appeared, and out of the haze stepped Gregg Wallace, wearing nothing but a white towel and an ugly grin. I’ll never forget what he told me (mainly because he repeats it so often on MasterChef that it’s the next most natural thing to him after breathing). ‘Cooking doesn’t get any tougher than this,’ said he, portentously. ‘Yes it does you ridiculous little man,’ I replied sternly. ‘Now get out of my kitchen before I report you to Hello magazine.’

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What the foc…?

I don’t pretend to be a food expert (much). But I’d like to think that, as my career progresses, I’ll be well on my way there, and I’m certainly no novice now. That’s why during dinner last night, I died inside just a little.

My would-be in-laws had descended on us with a few others in tow. The Incident happened just after we’d settled in at the restaurant I’d booked to their specifications – those specifications being, ‘Somewhere in Mayfair, nowhere pricey, but a place that does excellent quality seafood’ (gulp). Perhaps they didn’t realise that a modicum of expertise is needed to book anywhere decent at all at short notice for 8pm on a Saturday night, and were unaware of the foodie feat I’d already performed smoothly behind the scenes.

In any case, the Spanish conversation was flowing. Let me just reiterate an important part of that last sentence: the Spanish conversation. There I was, holding my own as we discussed, among other things, books we’d read, the meaning of the word ‘synergy’, prime number theories – none subjects I would list as within my realm of specialist knowledge…

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