although i’ve always delighted in creamy dishes, i’ve noticed it doesn’t always sit well with everyone; i’m all for improvisation in the kitchen and although things generally work out well enough, they are sometimes even improved.
usually i’d do moules marinière with a healthy dose of heavy cream but i have had occasion to prepare it differently,
i was on top of it; mussels with cream and a baguette to mop it up. their plane landed late and i happened to speak with her brother on the phone.
‘yes, it was delayed from heathrow, but she’s so excited to see you’, he said on the phone, ‘she’s looking forward to the visit and much better since she’s gone onto a strict lactose free diet.’
not quite hiding a panic, i clipped my conversation short with, ‘well i hope to see you soon too’, and a kiss. i’ve always liked him more than her.
my favourite catering advice always came from ethelind fearon’s reluctant hostess, which always suggests that you take a good look in the pantry, fridge or larder and not to panic, so i didn’t.
i poured a healthy glass of wine and started chopping the 3 shallots which i fried in olive oil with 3 cloves of garlic. over a lower heat i added some vegetable stock and the rest of the wine. simmer.
after putting the double cream back into the fridge, i put a healthy head of cauliflower in the steamer for 15 minutes after which i blended it into a smooth white creamy pulp.
did i say all the wine, no i left some more for myself.
as their taxi pulled up, i did the necessary greetings and sat them down with cocktails and introductions to the other guests, then slipped away to chop the parsley and cook the mussels over high heat in the broth. after lubricating the conversation with another pernod i mixed in the cauliflower pulp and stirred it through with the parsley. bon appetit.
i almost blushed from all the compliments and i’ve never made it different since, as julia child said: never apologise.