OR: Cooking for the Morgue.
So you'd think that if I had a reputation to maintain I would take some steps to protect it, wouldn't you? You'd think that if New Zealand's No. 51 Blogger was coming to dinner, I'd be at pains to research the best recipe I could and to make sure it was all as good as it could be, wouldn't you?
I say: Nah. Although I had a concept in mind, I didn't actually make up my mind about what I was going to cook for Morgue and StrongerLight until I went into the kitchen and, to be quite honest, happened to open up the fridge looking for a spark of inspiration.
What I saw instead was not something expensive or gourmet or haute cuisine: It was two packets of Blue Cheese, bang on their Best Before dates, and reduced from $4.70 each to 0.50c each, which Dessert Chef had spotted and bought a few days earlier. But hey, it's Blue Cheese. What's it going to do, go mouldy?
I had my inspiration. I will keep this brief:
Take your deliciously ripe Blue Cheese and slice it into thin, flat pieces. Dispose of annoying crumbly bits in your nearest mouth.
Slide the cheese under the skin of 4-5 large chicken legs. Wrap whole rashers of bacon around the chicken, fixing in place with skewers, and place on a bed of sliced leek, halved cherry tomatoes, cubed pre-cooked potato and kumera, and sliced mushrooms. Season and drizzle with a viniagrette mixture.
Bake at 200C for 1 1/2 hrs. Cook up a pot of jasmine rice, and reserve the starchy water when you drain it.
Remove the chicken from the roasting tray, placing onto your plates with the rice and steamed veges. Drain the juices from the pan into a bowl. Scoop off the bulk of the fat (there will be HEAPS due to the melting of the cheese) and return to the roasting tray. Add the starchy water from the rice as a thickener and mash up the veges there to make a thick and chunky gravy, while you heat it over an element. And guess what? That gravy is completely Gluten-Free.
OK, it was a bit more like a soup than a gravy, but with a little bit of stock and some more time on the stove, it would have been much more like the gravy we know and love. As it was, it was delicious regardless. And not to be outdone, Morgue and StrongerLight brought the dessert. What a grand way to top off a fabulous night.
Thanks, guys. Let's do it again sometime soon.