Ha! I'm home, and evidently I'm first to turn to The Internet, so I get to report on the ROR meeting. However -- there was so much sheet goin' down theah, I'm gonna let the other homies talk about all sorts of stuff. Things we talked about. Stuff we read. Stuff we wrote (you are soooo gonna love what we did to the guest-book!)
I'm just gonna post the menu, and that's my prerogative because I wuz the cook.
Actually, my role as cook started at the last ROR. In part, I did it because I live in the north of Tassie, which is where the last ROR happened, so I knew the local ingredients. And in part I did it because I figured if I did the cooking well enough, they might not throw me out on the basis of my manuscript about alien boogers. And I also figured I might not have to wash up. Also, I thought if we ate in a lot, it would save time and money... and most of all, I didn't really trust any of the others to cook, because I'm an egotistical bastard with an overweening regard for his own culinary efforts.
The menu at the last ROR went over very well, thanks, and I recall that overall, the cost-per-head was stupidly low. Well -- prices have climbed a lot since then, but I'll lay out the four-day menu for y'all, and you can judge for yourself whether we got value for money.
Thursday night: I got there late, due to all kinds of disaster. Dinner was Yum Nua -- spicy Thai beef salad, followed by a salad of watermelon, rockmelon, mint leaves and ginger syrup. The melon salad is another Thai recipe I've stolen, and I think it compliments the spicy-as-hell beef salad with its flavours of chili, lemon-grass, basil, onion, lime juice and fish sauce quite well. The concensus was pretty positive, anyhow, and there was nothing left of either dish. (Actually... that was a bit of a repeating theme.
Friday: Breakfast was simple -- crusty rolls with avocado, tomato and crispy prosciutto. However, I'd made a chicken stock the previous night, and being unable to get chicken bones and frames, I'd used lots of wings and drumsticks... so once I pulled them out of the stock, I coated them in a crunchy, spicy polenta mixture and baked them. As a result, we had super-tasty crunchy twice-cooked chicken for snacks and lunch and more snacks... Dinner was won-ton soup, with pork-and-ginger won-tons in a fine Chinese-style stock, plenty of fresh vegetables, shallots to garnish. And of course, by Marianne's request, there were Lemon Tarts for dessert. I'd never made them before, but they came up well, I felt.
Saturday: Breakfast was... umm... well, imagine a light quiche with feta cheese and herbs. Only instead of a crust, imagine it's been baked in a shell of thin-sliced smoky ham that goes all crispy-delicious. And then, when the quiche is mostly done, put slices of vine-ripened tomato all over the top and crank up the grill until the tomato is all soft and tasty. There was argument, but in the end, Richard christened it the "He-uiche", pronounced 'heesh'. Apparently, real men do eat it.
Lunch was catch-as-can: bread rolls, ham, tomato, fine cheeses, etc. But for dinner, I took the rest of the chicken stock and ran up a risotto with chorizo and mushroom. If you don't know the delights of spicy Spanish chorizo sausage -- I'm sorry for you. Suffice it to say that the risotto vanished completely, along with the accompanying salad. Oh -- and for dessert, I made profiteroles filled with whipped cream flavoured with a little sugar and just a little bit of orange oil, all covered with a rich chocolate ganache. Again, modesty forbids I should quote the response of the audience... but I must say that Richard's mild panic attack the next day when he thought the others were eyeing off his last profiterole (I made four each) was pretty gratifying.
Sunday: breakfast was all about the fluffy pancakes with maple syrup and bacon, at Tansy's request. (Hey. Richard got his profiteroles. Marianne got lemon tart, even if she didn't make it. So Tansy got pancakes and maple syrup.) I even ran up a pancake with apple and cinnamon for Rowena. (And may I say that I was delighted to see Rowena's appetite recover about halfway into the meeting... she arrived terribly afflicted by flu, and I was very pleased when she started getting some decent nutrition!)
Lunchtime was fun. Most everyone went out to a local restaurant, and I had reports of a rather nice squid salad... at $17.00 per plate. Heh. I just had a bread roll with ham and avocado and tomato. But I figure it did 'em good to be out and about, and comparing prices and menus!
Dinner was baked salmon with a coating of crunchy polenta and Morrocan seasonings, accompanied by barbecued vegetables with balsamic vinegar. I rather enjoyed watching a bunch of grown adults snarfing up their vegies like that... Oh -- and there was chocolate mousse, with a chocolate ganache shell, over a base of roughly chopped brandy-sprinkled sponge-cake (okay, lamington!) for dessert.
So. That's what you get at the ROR restaurant for roundabout $90 a head.
Sometimes, the isolated life of a writer isn't so difficult to take...