– We can order a takeaway from a restaurant. – My husband said when we were discussing the farewell party that we were to arrange for our collegues.
– No way! – I replied. – I’ll take care of everything myself!
– Are you gonna set a new record? – one of the colleges asked when she learnt that I’m gonna cook for a few dozen people. – Maybe you need some help?
– No, thanks, I’m ok.
– How much or should I say – how little – did you sleep for the past few days? – the wife of a collegue wondered when she saw the whole spread at the serving table.
– Well... I actually managed to get a few hours sleep.
It was hard, no doubt, but I don’t regret that we hadn’t ordered a takeaway. I actually managed to pull this off – with the help of that girl, my husband and some other people; and it was definitely worth all the pains and the sleepless nights spent in the kitchen.
I felt very excited on the day of the party – both because I had an opportunity to put my chef’s jacket on (that was hiding in the wardrobe after the Halloween party) and because all our collegues were about to taste my food. As they were aware of the fact that I had basically learnt to cook in Kolkata, they came to a conclusion that it was some sort of a “final exam” for me. And despite the fact that they all seemed to like the dishes and were impressed by the presentation and the flavour profile, I couldn’t give myself an A mark: I knew that I could do better (for example, I didn’t have time to put the glaze on the fruit cake and all the chocolate decorations on the hazelnut gateau). In general, however, I was happy to present the results of a few days work to our friends.
The dining table had an international spread of dishes:
• Russian multi-layered salad with herring and beetroot; buckwheat pancakes with smoked salmon and cream cheese.
• Italian antipasti platter; polenta rounds with proscutto, bocconcini and pesto; veal with tuna and anchovy sauce; risotto stuffed bell peppers.
• French chicken liver pate; fish mousse with almonds and thyme; chocolate and hazelnut gateau with strawberry jelly and crème brulee; orange cake with Chantilly cream and fresh fruits.
• Asian chicken meatballs with tomato and coconut sauce; papad with prawns and mango salsa.
• Mediterranean hummus; bulgur and cashew stuffed zucchini.
• Georgian aubergine rounds with walnuts and garlic mayonnaise.
• American cheesecake with Bailey’s and white chocolate.
P.S. Thanks to everyone who helped to organize the event!
P.P.S. A special thanks to the girl who found an opportunity to take the pictures of the dishes!