I am an extremely accomplished multi-tasker – as long as you don’t expect any of those tasks to be completed well or, indeed, completed at all.
The other day I found myself in the kitchen making pizza dough, chicken madras and a custard tart simultaneously – and all from scratch. And please don’t ask me why because I’d have to bore you with a long convoluted answer about ‘chicken on the verge of an expiry date’, a husband returning from a three day business trip and a sick child’s plaintive pleas for a pizza dinner.
But nothing – nothing – can explain the custard tart… Except, perhaps, that it was a book group night and I’d earned myself a bit of a reputation as the bearer of freshly baked goods. I mean, let’s face it: I have to contribute something worthwhile to the group, especially since I tend to have read most of my book group books asleep and/or drunk. So I guess I can explain the custard tart, after all.
Anyway, there I was, already juggling recipe books, ingredients and sharp knives, when I decided to start tweeting about my endeavours.
Luckily, only one twitter friend, ‘cookingkt responded. “That’s a whole lotta kitchenbusy…. Hope there’s wine and music in the background?!” she said.
I think we can all agree that alcohol was the last thing this particular scenario needed. As it was, I still managed to make a complete mess of things completely sober.
In my defence, I don’t know why most pizza dough recipes insist on letting it rise a second time. It’s like the ‘difficult second album’ – agonising for everyone involved. And because I’d ambitiously started off with the dough with less than hour until my children officially expired with hunger, I had to settle for two ‘micro-rises’. It’s the kind of thing that makes a woman wish someone’d invent a kind of viagra for pizza dough. (“Is that pizza dough in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?”)
In case you are wondering, the results were spectacular – if, that is, that you count a pizza crust that’s just like cardboard parboiled in paper glue as “spectacular”.
And the custard tart? Let’s just say it brought to mind that Spice Girls’ song ‘When Two Become One’ because the crust rose up to greet the filling and the whole thing became one big biscuity omelette – ‘frit-tart-a’, if you will. Badoom tish! Yes, I’m here all week. Try the fish. But not the custard tart, obviously.
As for the chicken madras… Well, I didn’t get to sample it before I left the house for book group but when I got home there was a note on the table from my husband saying “That was the best curry I ever had.”
Admittedly, his handwriting was a little shaky. I personally like to think it was because of all the emotion he must have been feeling after eating such a magnificent meal and not, say, because he’d just spent three hours vomiting in the toilet and could barely grasp the pen.
Still, there it was: Best. Curry. Ever.
So I’ve decided I won’t be sad. One out of three certainly isn’t “all good”, but it isn’t “all bad” either, right?
(Anyone got a good recipe for Meat Loaf?)