I am not scared to experiment in the kitchen. Catering a Mexican-themed party for 16, creating every single dish myself from scratch? Been there, done that. Deciding to make gnocchi from scratch for the first time on a random Wednesday? Bring it on (although, we did eat really late that night).
I’m pretty fearless in the kitchen and while I’ve created some meals that should win a Nobel Prize, it’s also resulted in a few dramatic failures when people come around for dinner.
Unfortunately for one specific couple who frequents our kitchen, the bulk of these dinner party disasters have happened to the meals I’ve prepared for them.
Ain’t no thing like a (raw) chicken wing
Power outages do not stop dinner parties. This particular one was relocated to the garden as I fired up the braai. Chicken wings had been marinating in a bourbon-BBQ basting for hours and promised nothing but deliciousness as I chucked them on the grill.
“Is this still raw?” Mrs Megamalist asked as we’d hit the middle of the serving.
No… No it wasn’t – but chicken looks different in near-total darkness and it was enough to put everybody off.
Admittedly, I am not very good at making yeasty doughs and so for the purposes of making pizza, I have taken to buying pre-made bread dough from the Spar up the road. We’d invited our friends for a “make your own pizza” night and it was going well until I took the pizzas out of the oven. Every single one of them was still raw in the centre. We ate them anyway.
Curry needs heat in 2 very important ways – temperature and spice. This dismal recreation of a recipe (that I had made up and successfully recreated several times) provided neither. It was the first time I uttered the words “I’m sorry it’s cold”. The evening was saved by naan bread containing so much garlic is would have powered a halitosis convention.
Giant sweet-and-sour panna cotta
As a quasi-minimalist, I try to provide birthday gifts which don’t get thrown into the junk drawer. Food is one thing I like to “give”.
I had gifted our friend a 4 course Italian-inspired meal for his birthday – complete with wine pairings for mains and dessert. It was going amazingly until my first attempt at panna cotta was taken from the fridge.
The volume of the mixture was massive and I had only 4 ramekins, so I’d split this giant bowl of diabetes-inducing gelatinous liquid equally between them. To balance the sweetness, I whipped up a raspberry coulis just prior to serving. The coulis turned out sour enough to curdle an entire cow.
Now officially vegetarian, our friends came over for another birthday-gifted dinner. The prep work was going well as the from-scratch pasta rolled out like a dream.
However things started going wrong as soon as I sliced up my finger on a brand new knife (I have a bad track record with knives) and managed to serve up a meal that was colder than that unknown bag of “something” that’s been at the bottom of the freezer for the last 6 months.
Our friends emigrated last month…