Penguin Prep

Yesterday was my day off, and I had every intention of writing for you, but between freelance, coffee with Alysa and prep for tomorrow night, time slipped away from me. You see, I had not really made plans for new year’s eve this year. Originally this was because I was working both new year’s eve and day, although as it turns out there’s no public transport running on new year’s day, making getting to Stratford without a car even trickier than usual. And one by one, Elena, James and Mikey got in touch saying they had no plans either, until it turned into something of a Pink Penguin reunion! The fates were definitely aligned on this occasion!

So, we decided to turn it into one of our “Come dine with me” inspired events, the only problem being that there simply isn’t room for me to seat four people in my living room, let alone to shove a dining table in there! Luckily, Ben is down at Lauren’s and I’m looking after the rats, so they very kindly said I could host dinner at theirs, making the seating plan that much simpler!

What this didn’t make any simpler was the prep, tricky enough as I don’t finish work til 5pm tomorrow, but even trickier in an unfamiliar kitchen. Which is why on my way into town yesterday I dropped off crockery and cookware, and on my way back from shopping, such ingredients as wouldn’t be needed until the last minute. I then spent last night baking a ham studded with cloves and basted in chilli jam and orange, making a roux sauce with a mushroom butter base for Mikey, James and I and without mushrooms for Elena, and pre-baking the puff-pastry pie crusts. I made up individual ham and mushroom pots for each of us, let them cool and covered them with foil, sliced the remaining ham for our family’s traditional ham and scrambled egg breakfast on new year’s morning, and mixed a ramekin of garlic and winter herb butter for the starter.

I then transported the lot to Ben’s on my way to the bus stop this morning, confident that my main and starter are all prepped and ready to go!

Tonight after work I stopped off to lay the table while the rats had a run about and some human interaction/attention. I came home intending to make pudding, but I think it will be better baked fresh, so will be making my chocolate raspberry brownies up tomorrow evening, to bake while we eat our mains.

I will of course, provide you with plentiful pictures of the finished food, assuming my phone will take them… and now nothing remains to be said but that I wish you all the very happiest of new years!

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