No cooking this time: last week’s injury has turned into this week’s spiral fracture of the fifth metacarpal in my right hand which is now encased in a splint for the next month.
It has massive impact: can’t use my white cane so difficult getting out; can’t guide myself around indoors; difficult to eat other than with a spoon and not good at finding my mouth with it in my left hand – more clothes in the wash; laptop keyboard almost impossible as two-finger typing only works when you can see the keys! Resorting to incomprehensible dictation on my phone.
Thank goodness for a well-stocked freezer and a well-trained sous chef!
All due to over-confidence: moving too fast and missed the wall.
Was glad of the help of the Gosport (death) hospital for x-ray, first splint and discreet check that the injury wasn’t the result of domestic abuse. First splint was like two conjoined finger puppets. But would have welcomed a bit more empathy from the follow-up phone call. No further treatment but another bigger splint in the post and that’s the end of their interest.
Still going ahead with the 12 April live bake-in and did a short interview with RNIB radio https://audioboom.com/posts/7835352-join-this-virtual-bake-in-event-for-visually-impaired-people.
The sous chef will be doing all the grunt work for the lemon Victoria sponges.
Imagine your very first cookery demonstration: not even in a kitchen; supported by a chef who barely speaks English; an audience of the most powerful women in the world’s largest city. Daunting or what? I desperately fell back on the tried-and-tested Victoria sponge but with a little twist to make it my own (https://youtu.be/0H0jPBwpD1M).
I was in Chongqing in China with one of the top chefs, Frank, at the prestigious InterContinental Hotel. We were providing the entertainment for the regular lunch of the International Women’s Group. This was a truly impressive gathering of the key female influencers in this vast city of 37 million people: Consuls general heading up the local representation of their national embassies; leaders in business and academia; my Rotary Club sponsors; movers and shakers in heels. And this was my initiation audience so I chose something hopefully foolproof and quintessentially English.
Frank and super-Beverages and Food Manager, Sam, did all the hard work. All I had to do was crack the eggs and turn on the mixer. I just tossed raspberries in to the mix and let Frank carry it away to the oven. Hardly testing or high cuisine!
My mini-sponges looked suitably simple alongside the accompaniment Frank had produced: a delectable chocolate stiletto shoe each garnished with fruit. He was just showing off and definitely caught the attention of the whole group. It was clearly the difference between a truly professional chef and yours truly – but did he have to rub it in so hard?
Frank and I had a great time working together – I just wish we had been able to do more. But the lunch was another chance to spread the word that disability needn’t be the end of the world – just give us a chance to show what we can do.
Guests lost in the jungle and bogged down in mud was the drama of my second dinner service at Noam’s HiR restaurant in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Although late, dinner succeeded and you can see how I turned classic Victoria sponges in to more exotic desserts with chilli and coriander https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyAYELsPtgo
In the rainy season, the jungle roads are treacherous with pot holes, mud and torrents of water. Our missing dinner guests were marooned only a few hundred yards away but their car was stuck in the mud. Chef Noam dashed out with other guests in tow. He was as handy with a pick-axe as with his chef’s knife and, within minutes, they soggily joined the party. This was service with a difference! As they say in Costa Rica, Pura vida – the answer to everything.
This whole week had been wonderful for discovering new foods growing wild in the jungle:
- Okinawa spinach – green on one side and purple on the other.
- Mayan tree spinach – which is toxic when uncooked.
- Turmeric plants with large leaves – just dig out some roots to use.
- Ginger plants with thin strap leaves for a light ginger taste and the roots/bulbs of ginger emerging from underground and to be cut.
And every home needs cleaner ants. They rid houses of other insects and animals. But they do bite humans too. They don’t eat our food but will get rid of cockroaches and even something as large as a scorpion. So you need to know which ant is which and keep the good ones.