The first thing I mentioned when I introduced myself to the seventeen guests staying this week: “honestly… nothings too much trouble. Look at the menu but if you want anything like, for instance, a curry night just let me know”. The response is emphatic: “Waheeeeey. Lads lads lads lads. Waaaaay. Curry. Curry. Curry.”
It wasn’t quite like that because of the seventeen staying: only four were below the age of 60. That’s a guess – one might’ve been 59: a woman never tells here age. (Yep, there were 17 guest and one lady.) Lucky gal.
But they wanted curry.
So curry it was. And here I am at the stove. I’ve just sent the onion bhajis as starter – the other option was smoked salmon salad with horseradish creme – and I’ve got about seven pans on the go but only six burners. The rice is almost done – just need to drain it, sprinkle with turmeric and cover. There’s saag aloo, pindi chole (mums favourite) and bombay potatoes. The Butter chicken (Gordon Ramsey – Great Escapes) – which had been marinading all morning and afternoon has just been added to it’s sauce and… the fucking gas has gone. Great timing.
And it’s Rob’s day off. And only R
ob knows how to change the gas, obviously . Shit.
The starters are cleared as I take a moment and tell myself it’s fine I’ll just go and change the gas myself. No worries. Not ideal but no worries.
The canisters are kept outside so I go into the dining room and open the door onto the veranda and… the door handle comes off in my hand. Jesus. No worries. Not ideal but no worries.
I carry on and go downstairs. I change the canisters. I go upstairs. The doors looked behind me and there’s no handle. I can’t get back in. Jesus. I’m thinking this is like some horror farce as I’m knocking on the window.
I eventually find myself back at my stove and, with a bit of jostling, the gas is back on and then… off again. That’s not supposed to happen. Fucking hell. This is no good.
I go out to the guests and joke around for a minute… buying some time in exchange for my best impersonation of a charismatic charmer. It works and I’m back in the kitchen trying to work out what the fuck is up with this stove. I’m out at the cannisters and up again but they just keep going off.
Eventually I work out that it can handle one ring burner at a time. For six pans. Shit. Not what most would call ‘ideal’.
I plate up the rice with the chicken and send that.I’m then swapping pans over the one ring and sending bits and bobs out as they get hot. Car crash cooking.
I walk out to applause after service. The name these sixty-plus gents give me? ‘One ring George’.
Love it. Loved them. I hope I’ve a group of mates like this lot when I’m there age. Not so keen on the name, though. Or doing a curry for seventeen with no gas.
It all happens here!