Regular readers will know I’m a sucker for punishment.
Allow me to rephrase.
It really helps my depression to have a win in life, and taking on something a little bit special/difficult/unusual really works for me (while also making all my near relatives—except my Mum, who also loves a good project, and my Dad, who is used to her—try to talk me out of it*).
In unrelated news, Chris and I watch the Tour de France each year.
One of the sexiest things about Chris is that his reaction to virtually any sport is to immediately and pointedly fall asleep (he’ll literally change the channel/mute if sports news comes on). The Tour is the one exception; something he inherited from his father.
For about three weeks each Winter, our household grinds to a halt as the Tour is on from 8:30pm until 2:00am most nights.
It has a bewildering, hypnotic beauty (once one becomes desensitised to all the lycra). There are castles, and coastlines, weirdo spectators, epic art, plenty of heroes and villains, complicated and ever-changing team strategies, sprinklings of French, and amazing feats of endurance.
Aaaand then there’s Gabriel Gaté. He’s one of those chefs that just adores his job. Each night he films a short segment meeting local restauranteurs* and/or farmers, and cooks a dish (the recipe is written out in full online) inspired by the region.
The first night was last Saturday, so he cooked a “perfect coastal dish”: Prawn, Potato, and Hazelnut Salad. You can see what he actually did here.
This is what *I* did:
Boiled cubed baby potatoes
Boiled cubed sweet potato
Chopped hard-boiled eggs
Finely chopped cashews
15ish cooked and ready-to-eat prawns, defrosted overnight (did you think I’d cook them myself??) and chopped (except for several saved for garnishing)
Some walnut halves, for garnish
Sprinkling of chopped chives, for garnish
50mL olive oil
1/2 tsp lemon myrtle/salt mixture
1/2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp sweet chilli sauce
I mixed everything from the first section of the above list (except the garnishes), put it into fancy glasses, drizzled the dressing (ie the last four ingredients, mixed) over the top, then garnished it, then served it.
This is what the dressing looks like. We actually didn’t need that much.
The great thing about salads is that it’s easy to adjust them for different people. TJ’s salad contains carrots and cheese instead of prawns (I also chucked in some water chestnuts, because why not?)
Louisette had… sausages.
Now let’s analyse the work of an international French chef using the same system I designed for 6 year-old home cooks:
Yum Factor: 4 (an excellent meal. Loses point for having no chocolate, and both kids refusing to eat prawns)
Health: 5 (vegetables and everything!)
Easy: 3 (no real skill required, but it took me a while to coordinate all the moving parts; 3 garnishes is just silly so next time I’ll probably just whack a prawn on top, sprinkle chives, and call it a 4. 4.5 because it can be prepped in advance).
Will make again? I was thinking ‘no’ during dinner (although it WAS nice to eat—and good to be able to do a bit and then sit down, and then do the next bit, then rest again, etc) but I think that’s mostly because of the process of adjusting the recipe as I went along. So, in conclusion, yes I do think I’ll make it again (with the changes to make it a 4.5 on the easy scale). I reckon I’ll save it until we have (adult) guests coming over, so I can be all fancy-like.
*Chris evaluates each project on its own merits, and on how exhausted I’m likely to be afterwards. That determines his emotional reaction along a sliding scale from “enthusiastic” to “terrified”.
*Is there any word that’s more FRENCH than that? HOW MANY VOWELS DO YOU PEOPLE NEED?