I've been feeling bad all week. As I drove through the dawn on Monday to Dorset, froze my little socks off at various meetings and then drove through the Dorset lanes and back to Wales I have been suffering from pangs of inadequacy, guilt and just a soupcon more inadequacy. Why? You clamour. Read on and all will be revealed.
So, to celebrate surviving the puppy experience I spontaneously asked friends over for Sunday lunch. I mean to have friends over all the time, I have a vision of a Nigella like life where my house is filled with an ethnically appropriate mix of people who work in 'meejya' and write novels and who rave about the fabulous time they have at my hovel. In truth, as a result of the minimal amount of time I am actually home, the time I spend cooking elsewhere and my hermit like tendencies invites are issued all too rarely. When they are issued it is to perfectly lovely and thankfully normal friends. Not a 'meejya' babe in sight.
So, invites were issued and at lunchtime on Saturday I suddenly realised that I had six people for lunch and no food to speak of with which to feed them. Now in most places this would not be a problem. You would dash out to the nearest deli / supermarket and stock up on delicious things. This is Wales. They don't do delis, or supermarkets for that matter. Plus, I was puppy sitting so the amount of time I could leave the house was going to be limited. I decided to cook a stalwart favourite; Cider and Sausage casserole with pancetta. This is normally DELICIOUS and one of my favourite things, particularly as I usually have all the ingredients floating around the house.
Reviewing my larder, I discovered that I had not a sausage to my name. A dash to the village Londis was my only option. The sausages looked..... well, cheap. Not particularly appetising and that naked shade of pink that is rather worrying in a foodstuff. At this point I should have changed my menu plan but I thought 'No, the sauce is delicious so the sausages needn't be.' How wrong could I be?
On Sunday I discovered that cheap sausages, rather like Blue Nun wines, are never, ever a good buy. With the best cooking in the world, I was in trouble and there were no other options. I had nothing else I could cook instead, and nowhere to go to buy alternatives. It was too late. I had to serve the casserole even though I KNEW that the rubbish sausages were going to ruin it by being disgusting.
I tried to hide the horror by merrily offering bloody marys to one and all, only to discover I had no tabasco, no ice and no celery, so they had warm tomato juice with worcester sauce in it. And all the while, like a stormcloud on the horizon, lunch amd the repellent sausages were looming. Finally, it was too late to delay anymore and I served up the food.
It was torture watching my poor friends chew away and say in a manful way 'mmmm, delicous' as they reluctantly forced another mouthful down. The sausages were so tasteless and of such a revolting texture I was wondering if it would be cruelty to give the leftovers to the Loyal Hound later on that day.
God, I hate it when my cooking goes wrong. I'm not looking for flowers to be thrown at my feet and guests to pass out at the joy of the gastronomic experience I provide, but I do firmly believe that guests should get good food that makes them feel loved and wanted. Sunday lunch was more like an assasination attempt, or at the very least a hostile death threat. And all because I couldn't be bothered to drive the extra sixteen miles to get decent sausages.
I did make a tart au citron for pudding which turned out beautifully but it wasn't enough to make up for the disastrous casserole. Let this be a lesson to me. Never, ever think I can buy food from the local shop and actually eat it. The food there is for a nucleur holocaust, or hated enemies.
Now I can't decide whether to ask people back so I can try and redeem myself, or never have people over ever again in case they are frightened to actually eat......
The price of health
12 hours ago