Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Eek a mousse

This is turning into a diary blog for The Underground Restaurant...
Val day was great but the usual mishaps occurred.
I was on schedule, despite my van breaking down last week and having to shop online. My teen wanted to go to a party on Friday night. I drove her over there.
On entering the house, chaos, around a dozen teenagers running around hysterically and one clutching his head. He was drunk and had fallen over, hitting his head on a rock. I took a look and you could see his skull through the cut.
The mum of the house, one of those liberal ones, pleaded with me to stay with the other teenagers while she took the boy to the hospital.
Her son was freaking out "Will we get done for this? He's been drinking."
I googled it and drinking at home is legal for kids over five years old in the UK.  
I do give my teen a little wine with her meals, or maybe a small glass of champagne. But these kids were glugging back whole bottles of vodka and gin.
My teen returned from her French school trip a week ago sneering at another child who blacked out after drinking about 6 inches of vodka.
"Huh, what a light weight!"
"I'd collapse if I drunk that much vodka" I told her. 
Cue more sneering.
"Really, it can kill you."
I ended up babysitting in this house until almost 1 pm. A waste of an evening.
Luckily a young trainee chef, Charlie, came to help me on Saturday. He beautifully blanched the asparagus spears, dipped the cherries in chocolate and, being the son of a furniture remover, knew exactly whether an additional table would fit through the door.
This time the Daily Mail photographer came to cover the evening. He was quite useful. He opened the door for guests. 
My sister and I kept getting the giggles as we were ladling out the soup.
"Is this the maddest thing we have ever done?" I ask her.
"Well there was the time that we were both vicars at Glastonbury and married people." she said.
"And the time when we did a stand up routine on food and astrology in a Camden town restaurant..." I added.
"But this is the maddest... yeah" she says
In the middle of plating up the mains, a woman spilt red wine all over her white crocheted cardigan. My sister wanted to stop everything "Where's a bucket?" and help the woman. 
"STOP IT" I hiss "Fuck her cardigan I don't want people's food to go cold"
I looked around the corner. The cardigan was hideous anyway. I bit back the impulse to say "Chuck it, it's vile". I do realise that a proper restauranteur would not say this. Only beautifully tanned top models can get away with white crochet. It looks shite on English women.
Later we got the giggles again. I'd miscalculated the amount of chocolate mousses. I needed one more. Hush hush I sent sister-woman out to buy one from the local supermarket, get like a 'Gu' high quality choc mousse.
My sis sneaks back.
"Bad news, I could only get the Somerfield version" she says.
We look at it. It's got fake whipped cream on top. The consistency of the mousse is blancmange, sloppy and pale coloured. I doubt there is any chocolate in it at all. People are slipping past us to smoke on the balcony. We are trying to hide the packaging.
We put the Somerfield 'mousse' in a Le Creuset ramekin. Still looks awful. We try to cover it up with chocolate dipped cherries. No better. 
I take a deep breath and ask two of the diners, that I actually know, if they would mind sharing one. I fess up.
The end of the evening, eyelashes and minicab cards.


  1. Hahaha, I thought you two look conspiratorial when she 'popped out to the shop'!!

    I told a work colleague about your restaurant, and she started spouting something about hygiene laws. Pah, I trust your hygiene standards SIGNIFICANTLY more than any registered and certified restaurant. And I know for certain that you won't put chicken stock in my soup.


  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Well I do have a good hygiene certificate plus having worked in kitchens I know that my place is definitely up to scratch.
    Except I do not use plastic chopping boards. I only use wood. I try always to use natural materials that can breath and heal.
    I think plastic chopping boards are unhygienic.

    I spend all week making fresh vegetable stock Ms C.

  4. Well even if you didn't have a certificate I would trust you - I know that you know what you're doing. :-)

    I agree on natural materials, wood is naturally antiseptic anyway. And even if it supports life, it will probably have harmless bacteria living in it, leaving little space for any nasties.

    I am from the 'let children play with mud, it's good for their immune system' approach, rather than the 'douse everything with dettol and scrub it with bleach' school of thought. Not that I think you're serving us mud pies...


  5. Great stuff! Sounds like a great laugh what you are doing! So what happened to the dreadful cardie in the end? And tell us more about the vicars and Glastonbury stuff. I'm so glad you didn't offer them one of the Somerfield mousses!

    Would love to see the pics you mentioned of your street food experiences. Some of the best stuff I've eaten's been bought from side street vendors. How about a street food theme night for your underground restaurant? I'd go, especially if it was Mexican, or Indian for that matter!

    All the best,


  6. Hahahaha who knew all that was going on in the kitchen! I wonder whether I got the 'special' somerfield mousse? It tasted awesome either way - as did everything else and thanks for letting us smoke out the back.

  7. Nobody got the special Somerfield mousse...I think you would most certainly have noticed!

  8. Lennie, Yes I am going to do an Indian night and a Mexican night!

  9. What's on the menu this week?? And is it going to be Mail readers instead of Guardian readers now?!



I would love to hear what you think of this post! I try to reply to every comment (if there is a delay, I am probably away from an internet connection or abroad)