Wednesday, July 19, 2006

fire in the kitchen

No, not literally. So a few days ago, in the heat and exasperation of making yet another dinner in the hot kitchen, I suggested to Dorota that we make gazpacho. In response to the suggestion of gazpacho, Dorota said we should make paella then to make a whole dinner. And thus began our online search for a recipe for each spanish dish. We made a list of ingredients to buy and said we would make it Tuesday night, technically the last night before my parents arrived in town (eee! as Jeremy would have said last summer in glee).

Yesterday afternoon I received a text message from Carly and Dorota saying that I needed to get home as soon as possible to get chopping, we had a dinner to make! I could just imagine those two women at home laughing about chopping as I worked. I gladly left work at 4pm (I don't think anyone really cares), swung by the pharmacy to get some meds before heading home for the cookfest.

I arrived home to find my home vacant of my assistant chef, or rather the captain of the kitchen, Dorota, who was out shopping for ingredients. Within 20 minutes she was home and we consulted on our recipes, got chopping and blending. We expelled Carly from the kitchen when we got to the bell pepper (she's allergic) and created our gazpacho, blending and adding another tomato, another cucumber, more vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. For some reason we thought our recipe wouldn't create four servings... In the fridge to chill and out to the supermarket, we didn't have paprika for the paella.

Carly and I trekked (walked rather, there aren't any uphills or anything) to our beloved GS for the jar of paprika. It was pretty funny in the checkout line. We couldnt go to the trolleyless line because it was too long with people with overflowing baskets, thus we waited in a line with trolleys (carriages, no shopping carts thats the word). Two people. One bottle of paprika. €1.30. Sounds like a movie. It was a hilarious transaction, I almost dashed away without taking the receipt. Carly keeps telling me that it's some sort of law in Italy that one cannot be within 50 metres of a place of purchase without a receipt. Ridiculous.

So we returned home to make paella. Dorota and I compared our two paella recipes, mixed and matched. No, we would not turn on the oven. Yes, tomatoes go in a paella. They are in there you just can't see them. What do we cook first? What else do we cook? When? I was confused but, Dorota took charge and delegated the chopping tasks to me (and I accepted quite gladly, chopping an onion without crying among other things). We made our paella, improvising along the way, fearing for the overflowing of the pan (to which I kept telling Dorota that it would be fine), stirring when the recipe said we shouldn't and, by the glorious end, when I had gone to another room to check the internet quickly, Dorota walked in and said it was fabulous. Truly the best paella. I took a picture (I'll post it soon). We had our dinner, accompanied by Spanish music. Paella being Niki's favourite dish and Niki being in Greece and having gloated about his night spent with a bonfire on the beach, Dorota sent a message proclaiming the authenticity of our meal. With a glass of sangria made by the Matilde (aw geez this La Matilde business is rubbing off into my English, oi), that later turned into an alcoholic macedonia, we toasted a great meal. Success. Dorota told Carly 'you don't know what you are missing' with regards to the gazpacho, chunky light and delicious. Carly responded: 'yea, death.' and we had a good laugh. Watch out for allergies, they are no laughing matter, unless of course the allergee (completely invented that word) makes the joke :P Dorota will hold onto the recipes though we didn't really follow either one very closely, to recreate our night of food made with love, laughs and cooperation. Buon appetito!

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