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Cocktails August 18, 2006

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
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It’s pure pre-guest panic in the BiB+Russian household. Such is the panic, in fact, that I’ve decided I’d better have a bit of a blog and the Russian’s decided to have a quick lie-down. And such is the panic that this very nearly got uploaded onto the wrong blog. (Oh yes, other people are quite willing to trust me with their passwords, dontcha know.)

There’ll be no time for me to check back to get your top tips, but I’ll ask anyway, and maybe, if anyone is good enough to answer quickly, I’ll receive your tips telepathically. It’s all in the drinks, the panic. The food’s under control, I think. We’ve been to get halal everything. Halal chuck. Halal desserts. Halal cheese. (OK, halal desserts and halal cheese are pushing it, but they were bought in a shop that dispenses with dodgy, haram rennet.) Got some alcohol-free champers.

I can’t cook. Well, I can, sort of, but the Russian certainly cooks much better and I would never be set loose in the kitchen to cook for guests who know their onions, as tonight’s do. So I’m in charge of the table. Might even stretch to a table-cloth this evening, you never know. And smelly candles. And I’ll try to get the glasses gleaming, rather than befingerprinted, as they normally are. I hoped to do my once-in-a-blue-moon posh drinks, but forgot half the ingredients. This is where you come in. I have two posh drinks. A kir, or kir royal, and that palate-freshening thing with gin, tonic and lemon sorbet. Only I forgot the crème de cassis for the kir/kir royal. And I forgot the gin for the second thing. And the tonic. Fuck. So, having rooted around in the cupboards, I’ve come up with the following ersatz ingredients. Should I or shouldn’t I? Instead of the crème de cassis, some raspberry syrupy nonsense. That might not be too bad. But the gin and tonic thing without gin or tonic. Buggery fuck. Bacardi instead of gin? And what about the tonic? Tap-water?

We must never have guests. Or must simply get rich enough to hire caterers when anyone even mentions popping over for a cup of tea.

Comments»

1. lukeski - August 18, 2006

Cheat – pour it into a bowl and add lemonade, then claim it to be the very latest fashion in London – call it a Bleeding Nun or a Sweeney Todd or a Betty Swollocks or something vaguely rude. Then add a ladle (ladel?), et voila…

2. lukeski - August 18, 2006

And ice cubes (or shavings). And/or fruit.

3. annie - August 18, 2006

So according to the recipe I just found, Kir Royale contains creme de cassis and champagne. To recap, you have:
no gin
no tonic
no creme de cassis

just champagne.

Let them eat cake!

Hope you had a good evening…

4. Wyndham - August 18, 2006

Absinthe. Plenty of it. You’ll never entertain again.

5. Bowleserised - August 19, 2006

Bung some mint/grass/nettles in and it’ll be fine.

6. Blonde at Heart - August 19, 2006

Never switch ingredients. Whoever said you need creme de cassiss, meant it. My mum once cooked chicken in brandy, but has not got any brandy, so she used banana liquer instead. The chicken tasted like those banana candies. Awful.

Moral: do not switch ingredients.

7. lukeski - August 19, 2006

I guess it must’ve been a good night, then, as you still haven’t surfaced…

8. Bowleserised - August 19, 2006

Blonde at Heart – you are so right. I’ve just remembered (with a shudder) the time my pal and I tried to make cheap champagne cocktails using cava and cooking brandy. Never again.

9. GreatSheElephant - August 19, 2006

raspberry stuff sounds fine for the champagne if you must

as for the other concoction – leave the sorbet in the freezer. I’m sure no-one palate is going to be so dirty they’ll die without it

10. chendaberry - August 19, 2006

I think whatever advice bib followed.. he didn’t survive it..

Damn! And B and I were going to invite you to drinkies this week. Now what are we going to do?

11. lukeski - August 19, 2006

Or maybe they simply haven’t stopped yet, and he’ll wake up as merchant seaman on a boat leaving Bremerhaven this Monday with no memory of the previous three days…

12. chendaberry - August 20, 2006

That’s more likely..

13. BiB - August 21, 2006

Darlings, thank you all galore for the tips.

Lukeski, I should have tried to make some mysterious punch, but the Russian and I always shop to the very minimum; you know, we just buy what we need for the next few days. (Tradition started by having an excellent market near us in St. Petersburg.) So we never just have nicely, surprising things tucked away at the back of cupboards. I’m afraid even lemonade falls into this exotic category. So we had to make do with what we had…

B., likewise for the herbs. All we had fresh was lemon balm, and that was for the rice, so we daren’t have thrown that into drinks too lest we over-lemon-balm everything, which would never have done.

GSE, top advice, which I must have received telepathically. The palate-freshening G&T+lemon sorbet got deleted from the agenda. I was full of hope for the kir/kir royal (but with halal champagne, as we ‘christened’ it for the evening) with the raspberry instead of the cassis, and it was utterly disgusting, saved only by wolfing down as much of it as possible and then diluting away the raspberry taste with more halal champers or white wine. The best version of all was when there was no raspberry left in the drink at all, c’est-à-dire, when the kir simply became white wine.

BAH, never-change-the-ingredients advice now firmly taken on board. Recipes must become recipes for a reason. And we can trust the French to know what they’re doing. (Remembers attempt at making caipirinhas in Russia but with vodka. Utter puke.)

Wynders, there was no absinthe either, although it was at large in the restaurant we went to on the Saturday night, and I was tempted to digest with its assitance, but I was talked out of it and into some rather delicious port instead, older than my good self. I can’t do stronger though. The manlier poofs of the foursome went for calvados and armagnac, both utterly vile to my delicate palate. The Muslim poof had a nice cup of tea.

Annie, we did have cake too, and that was an unmitigated success, purcahsed as it was from a fantastic Lebanese bakery and I didn’t add anything to it. It was served just as itself.

Chen (and Lukeski again), it has been a rather abusive weekend, but I’m sure I’ll be ready for further intoxication after a few-days-long recovery period.

Back to work. Drone…

14. Blonde at Heart - August 22, 2006

Did you see it? Poof! Just like that, Mr Carlill has deleted his blog without a warning!

15. BiB - August 22, 2006

And there I was boasting in this very post that people are willing to give me their password to their blogs! Still, I can understand him deleting his, almost. His name was on it, and he’s got a media job. I think it could have ended up getting him in trouble.

16. GreatSheElephant - August 22, 2006

what? No! I liked his blog. Bah

In retrospect, it occurs to me that you couldn’t have used creme de cassis in any case because it’s alcoholic so it would have quite ruined the alcohol free champagne for your guest

17. BiB - August 22, 2006

Fuck me with a big stick, I hadn’t though of that! Hopefully, I would have thought to check the ingredients beforehand if I had found it. It can be quite tricky when there are dietary requirements. Making sure the cheese isn’t made with animal rennet, for example, to make sure it couldn’t possibly be haram, for Muslims, or for strict vegetarians. I don’t know how likely this ever is to happen, but would it actually be impossible for me to cook kosher? Halal is actually relatively easy. You just avoid certain products and buy meat somewhere specific (or do fish and don’t even have that trouble). And there’s no strictness about instruments. But kosher would be quite another kettle of fish altogether.

Yes, shame about Bren’s blog, but I was sort of forwarned. He might come back anonymously…

18. Blonde at Heart - August 22, 2006

Cooking kosher is not that hard. You just make sure nothing has pig or strange sea crewtures in it and not mix meat with dairy products. Thus, lasagne is without meat, and if you cook chicken for main course, no ice cream for dessert. Easy.

He might? Oh, spiffing!

19. BiB - August 22, 2006

But don’t all instruments have to be somehow kosher too, or have I invented that?

20. Bowleserised - August 22, 2006

No idea, but neither of your male muslim friends should have been wearing silk, unless it was raw. I think I remembered that correctly. Maybe it’s just silk full stop.

21. BiB - August 22, 2006

Gosh, I didn’t know about materials being haram too. I knew that crocodile-meat was a no-no, as I think there’s something wrong with amphibiousness. And fish can be haram, actually, if it has died in the water, which it almost never does, I suppose. I feel awfully savage in comparison, having no exotic rules. I was a vegetarian for a while, and hated every second.

22. Blonde at Heart - August 22, 2006

Ultra Orthodox people need a stamp on the back of a product to be sure it has nothing taref in it. I trust my common sense.

23. GreatSheElephant - August 22, 2006

plus you need to use separate implements for cooking milk and meat products. And if you are strict for washing them up afterwards. My cousin has 4 dishwashers – one for meat dishes etc, one for milk, one for meat during Passover usw

Quite clearly she does not live in London. Her utility room must be bigger than my flat.

24. BiB - August 22, 2006

BAH, I learnt the word taref earlier today, and then you brought it up, which always happens, in my experience. But I am reassured that I could cook a kosher meal after all. Now I just need the right guest…

GSE, yes, that’s the kind of thing I was imagining. So is your cousin ultra-Orthodox? A vaguely Jewish woman I stayed with in Paris had two kitchens, but only because she bought the flat next door to her own and knocked the two into one. I was trying to tell her this was a sign from the gods that she should rediscover her inner Jew forthwith, but she paid me no attention. Oj gevalt!

25. Ed Ward - August 23, 2006

Actually, you need two sets of pots and pans, two sets of dishes, and two sets of cutlery to keep kashruth, if I’m not mistaken.

Is “taref” the same as “trayf,” or is my Yiddish screwing up my ability to think again?

Signed,

Not a Jew, But Grew Up In New York, So I’m Jewish.

26. BiB - August 23, 2006

Ed, my English boss in St. Petersburg a gazillion years ago was, I think, straightforwardly Jewish, but had been brought up unjewishly, was perhaps even christened – father Christian – and he called himself Jewishish.

Ed (still), yes, I think taref and trayf and treyf must all be the same thing. Aber, does Jewishness have degrees of treyfness? On a previous trip here, the same Muslim homosexual explained that there were degrees of haramhood. If I remember rightly, alcohol was as haram as haram could be, more haram even that narcotics. Can’t remember where homosexuality fitted into the scale, or perhaps a different set of rules apply for that.

27. Blonde at Heart - August 23, 2006

All taref things are equally taref.

And Ed, yes, you do need two sets of everything. I even have two sinks.
I now see that Kosher is quite a complicated thing.

28. BiB - August 23, 2006

Hmm, I have a number of chopping-boards. I am feeling inadequate.

29. daggi - September 14, 2006

I’m pleased to have it confirmed that Cheggers has moved to west London from north-west London. Is Cathy still sharing with you?

30. BiB - September 14, 2006

Daggi, I have googled Cheggers to see what the siginificance of this comment could be, and got sidetracked by seeing he’s about to appear in some Ricky Gervais thing on TV (in the Kingdom) tonight, and, according to the one review, he’s brilliant in it.

Do you mean you’ve moved? I’m still very much in deadest Pankow.


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