This is what my day looked like:
Go to bed at 1am (I have to count this detail, because it technically was part of my day)
7am: get up, make hazelnut-apricot scones and chocolate-espresso-hazelnut shortbread for event at Willow Park. (Sidenote: they called yesterday to ask if I could help cook for customer appreciation day.)
9am: arrive at Willow Park and start cooking like a madwoman. Cooking at customer appreciation day is actually really fun, if your idea of fun is going through the fridges (they have one designated only for cheese), freezer and cupboards and coming up with things to make, like Gordon Elliott’s Door-Knock Dinners. (I do consider this a blast.) Except on a much larger level – they had over 1000 people over to eat. One of the best creations was roasted carrot hummus – Friday night we roasted a bunch of beautiful carrots, beets, purple potatoes and Yukon golds for the organic wine festival, and ended up with a sheet of leftover roasted carrots. They were cut in half lengthwise, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted until they were soft with golden bits. I threw a few of them into the blender with the usual chick peas, garlic, tahini, lemon and olive oil to make hummus, and added a big pinch of toasted cumin. It was a beautiful color, and a total hit.
4pm: run home, unload the car, reload the car, change.
4:45pm: rush out the door, stop at Bite to pick up a fig log imported from Italy (I should make these things – they are a blend of figs and nuts and aniseseed, shaped into a log and wrapped in plastic and then dried leaves – and sells for $25).
5:30pm: and arrived to do a private hands-on cooking class/demo Tuscan-themed dinner for the 50th birthday of a wonderful lady and her husband and friends.
6:30: guests arrive, have peach bellinis and some antipasti I picked up at the Italian Supermarket, the aforementioned fig log, and nubbly bite-sized chunks of Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, drizzled with honey and white truffle oil and sprinkled with fresh pepper. This is one of the easiest appetizers you can do – it takes about 2 minutes. Bob Blumer taught it to me.
7pm: we start cooking.
Parmigiano-Reggiano drizzled with White Truffle Oil & Honey
Balsamic Mushroom Crostini (one of my favorites)
Prawns wrapped in Prosciutto (at Willow Park yesterday the guys from Escoba came and did the same thing with capicola ham) and served with pesto
Spinach & Ricotta Gnocchi with browned butter
Grilled Lamb Chops with olive oil, lemon, garlic and oregano
Forest Mushroom Risotto
Courgettes & Carrots a Scapece
Mascarpone Panna Cotta (an experiment, and a definite winner)
Chocolate, Hazelnut & Espresso Shortbread
The host did some fantastic wine pairings with each course.
1am: arrive home and crawl into bed.
So here I am, finally, in bed with my laptop. And here’s a recipe from tonight’s feast: