Yesterday was NG's birthday and as her family seems to think that everyone else and their cat's birthday should be celebrated except hers - not even sending a pressie, for example, just a cheap little kiss by phone - I suggested she come and have a good old Sunday roast lunch with some of our pals and celebrate properly.
I dug out of her freezer a huge leg joint of pork WITH crackling (very unusual in France, that) that I'd put there for want of space in mine and rubbed the skin over with coarse sea salt, crushed fennel seeds and olive oil. It sat on a bed of onion to make a nice dark gravy. I also roasted some spuddies, and made Yorkshire puds (sky high, 4 eggs...) with greeny veg too.
Everyone arrived - 5 adults and 3 kiddies (mine were with their dad) and we set about feeding the younger ravening wolves. Once they were sorted, we could get on with the gravy. I didn't know I had a militant gravy foodie in the house. I had entrusted its creation to C because I had a senior moment and lost my nerve. I could have pulled myself together, but it was just easier to ask someone else, so I did, but I didn't realise that in the C&A household, gravy has a particular taste. Said taste was proving hard to achieve, to the point that Gravy 1 was ditched, and A took over for Mark II.
Meanwhile time was moving on, and our eldest guest was starting to pass out with hunger, and getting tetchy into the bargain. It was time to act, gravy or no gravy, so I got a plateful together, and the lone diner tucked in. It was quite like old school days with numerous sittings. Revived, the risk of a scene was averted, and I blessed the day microwaves were invented as I heated up this and that in preparation for the entry of Gravy 2.
As I'd forgotten the spuddies in the oven, they were well and truly roasted, but also deliciously crunchy and tasty. The crackling had crackled, and the meat was moist and tender. I had ditched the idea of the starter by this time, all efforts at gracious living totally pointless, it was more a question of let's get at it and enjoy it while it's still hot! So we just launched straight into the meat, accompanied by bottle n°4. Going with the flow was eased by the abundance of wine and matey atmosphere and though I say so myself, it was all delicious.
Pud was champagne and a boiled fruit cake made by C and her daughter on which I put some candles and a sparkler. There were sparklers for all, too which proved to be a risk too many, as one landed on the table and left a souvenir for all times of Birthday Lunch with Gravy 2. Proof of a good time, if you like.
C&A stayed after the departure of a happy NG, and we played a silly game based on the X-Factor show, which none of us watch, but which contained chocolate prizes, so the kids were keen to join in. We were really bad, and didn't care a jot.
So, my ineptitude faced with the making of gravy had many unforeseen consequences, but it was more eventful and fun dealing with the resulting chaos. Perfection is not always to be found in that which is perfect.