We don’t often eat out in restaurants.
Mysweet is a very good cook, and, with two nearly grown up children, it is an expensive business, so why bother?
We have eaten our way round the world at other people’s expense whilst working in the past, but this is less usual now.
When we do eat out, we like to go to somewhere special.
I have recently become addicted to a program on British tv called Masterchef. It might be the sound track, (it has some great music on it), or the ritual that it is always on at the time I come back from teaching my evening classes and I am sitting in front of tv hungrily eating a late dinner.
I still wince at the banality of those over emphasized phrases like “Now that is something I would serve in MY restaurant!”, heard for the thousandth time and Mysweet also has the habit of joining in the low vibrating buzzing noise which is presumably supposed to build the tension as the harassed chefs struggle against an artificially imposed time limit. He has never quite shared my liking for the program…
In spite of these minor irritations, it is still interesting to hear Michel Roux’s opinion on how something should be prepared.
Last week, it was crème brulée. We learned that the custard must be smooth and creamy but properly set and not tending to curdle like scrambled eggs. The sugar on the top must be a fine layer of exactly the right thickness. It must be evenly cooked to a uniform deep golden brown. Any patches of burnt black cause a bitter after taste and are to be avoided at all costs.
In two weeks time Mysweet and I are going on holiday to Sri Lanka to celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary. We have both been so busy lately that we decided to go out for lunch to discuss our plans. In the smarter area of St Brieuc, we found a restaurant attached to a wine shop. It was necessary to walk through the extensive cases of wine to reach the exclusive little dining room. The tables were extravagant glass tops over polished adapted wine barrels, the décor 1950’s chic. A table of six business people in suits were already addressing their sparkling cold flute glasses. We were looking a bit…British. Me in jeans and him in camouflage trousers. For some reason, the British are always easy to spot in these situations. The women always have longer and/or more untidy hair than their French counterparts. It is a question of finish. The Brits just don’t seem to have it.
The waitress arrived and we ordered. Her attitude was the slightly condescending one of tolerating an ignorant tourist.
Our first course was delicious. His jarret of pork and my salmon were slightly overpowered by the waitress’s decision to spray the glass top of the table next to us with cleaning fluid which we were then able to taste…
We decided to overlook this.
Our crème brulées arrived.
Mysweet’s expression passed from disappointment to glee as he examined his crème brulée, discovering the about to curdle interior and then the patches of black on the overcooked sugar coating. He peeled off the little burnt patches and arranged them in a pretty pattern round his plate, and ate some of the interior.
The waitress returned to ask perfunctorily if everything was all right- and Mysweet proceeded to tell her in polite detail and very good french exactly what was wrong.
She didn’t like it and started to argue. “But sir that is why it is called crème brulée, because it is burnt!”
Who said the British never complain? Thank you Masterchef! Watching Mysweet in action was the most entertaining meal I’ve had in a long time…
4 days ago