So, contrary to popular belief, Rosie’s Salad Days has not been abandoned.
Good news, oui?
Basically, I managed to get myself a job at the Duck & Waffle. I picked several kilos of watercress, gazed out of the 40th floor window, stretched my learning capacity to lengths I never imagined it could get to and ate a lot of duck. It “only closes when the building is on fire” (so literally 24/7) and it was one of the most fantastic experiences of my life. I was given a nickname. I made hollandaise. I panéed 120 prawns in one go. I learnt what the word panée means. I worked a section of a professional kitchen during service. It was nuts. It was the best. It was exhausting. But also the best. Yes chef.
With great remorse, I travelled down the 2 flights of stairs, then the 38 floors in staff the lift, for the last time a few weeks ago. I think I was too tired to express how grateful I was for everyone accommodating Princess Rosie Lee for those months, but trust it was ace. “Big man ting”. Ok?
So that’s where I’ve been. If you follow me on twitter or instagram you probably know this already, but I could talk about this experience for ages so I allow myself to indulge in talking about it whenever possible. It’s my blog after all.
After I realised that I no longer worked in hospitality, I realised that going out on Saturday night and not having to be in the kitchen for brunch service on Sunday morning was a privilege that needed to be addressed. So I put away my delightful chef clogs and dug out some platform heels and went out.
Anyone who has ever lived in Surrey, attended a boarding school, currently attends a Doxbridge University or has a MyWaitrose card understands that the “pre-lash” is the fundamental cornerstone of a night out. Friends gather to drink, before going out out. Cheap drinks are downed and makeup is perfected before it’s been long enough for you not to be the first ones there.
If you thought that paragraph was cringe, you haven’t heard the phrase pre bop lash.
Anyway. As someone who has worked out through considerable trial and error that if you don’t eat a ghastly, stodgy, carb loaded meal you’re gonna chun everywharr (Greece 2k12), I am the voice of reason.
I’ve devised a meal that solves many problems of the pre-lash.
- You inevitably begin getting ready far before is appropriate, so are sitting in full face makeup at 4pm.
- Food for a crowd.
- Budget is tight, you’ll need a whole lot of mixer to cover the taste of cheap vodka.
- It’s a long time til that 2am kebab you’ll inevitably get WITH CHIPS.
Ready? This recipe even encompasses a skill I learnt as a commis. And it’s lactose free, as per.
- 1 finely chopped red onion
- 2 cloves of chopped garlic
- A generous glass of cheap Chardonnay (or white wine of choice)
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 200ml single cream (Lactofree if you so desire)
- 500g (dry weight) cooked pasta, I used farfalle
- Cooked, shredded chicken (supermarket deli counter if you're lazy)
- 4 rashers of smoked back bacon, cooked as you like it & chopped up
- 5 mushrooms, sliced
- A lot of cheese, grated (again, Lactofree if necessary)
- First, sweat onions in a large pan until translucent. Add thyme and garlic.
- Deglaze the pan with half the wine, scraping off anything that's got stuck to the bottom. Let the alcohol evaporate, then add the other half.
- After the wine has reduced a little, add the cream and stir. Season.
- If you can be bothered, pass the sauce through a sieve but if you don't have a kitchen porter/parent to wash up the sieve afterwards, skip this step.
- Stir in the cooked pasta, chicken, mushrooms and bacon until combined.
- Pour the mixture into a casserole dish, and cover with cheese. Seriously, cover with cheese and then add more cheese. If you plan on doing shots tonight, you'll want more cheese.
- This can now be set aside until your pre-lash guests arrive. When they do, preheat the oven to 180° and bake it for around 35 minutes, until it has warmed through and the cheese is crispy.
- Serve with the rest of the Chardonnay. Or, if you're incredible gauche, take the remaining wine to a house party and offer it to the host. If you tell them you used the rest to make a white wine sauce, they might forgive you.
- If you're vegetarian, the chicken and bacon won't be appealing. You could use sweetcorn, shredded quorn chicken, or leave out the meat altogether.
Bonus news! I’m starting at Leiths School of Food and Wine next week, and as long as I follow their rules on blogging, I’m going to be posting some of the stuff I do on here.