Prior to Christmas, with a lack of front of house workers available to me, Vinnie worked as my assistant and FoH on a couple of jobs. Despite the client’s assertions that we ‘make a good team’, there is one big thing that made that entirely not true; emotional attachment. See, because I love Vinnie, I get concerned for him if he starts getting tired rather than telling him to get himself together, down a coffee and keep on working. Rather than make my disapproval known at the length of time he leaves the filo pastry out and telling him to hurry up, I say ‘sweetie, sweetie darling, maybe cover up the filo? Do you think you can go any faster sweetie? Don’t worry if you can’t, it’s OK my love, I love you’ like a total dork. I give him actual breaks (actual breaks in catering and hospitality? What? There is never enough time for this to happen ever especially whilst doing an actual event) at the expense of the sauce and he sits at a swivel bar stool, with a whole party going on in the next room and says ‘your job is so much easier than mine’.
That was the end of him getting breaks.
We’re in the January lull now. Post December and the lavish attitude that tends to see each day of a private chef and caterer taken up with one event or another, be it a wedding, a family reunion, a lunch party, a work party, a canape party or another turkey based meal (December is genuinely a wonderful month for job fulfilment, it’s a properly happy and busy time) declines with the New Years tightened purse strings. Vinnie at his coffee shop, is welcoming of the current calm, half caused by people vowing to quit coffee, half caused by recent terrible flooding in the area (those that vowed to quit coffee will be back by the third week). He has had time to hone his coffee sculpturing skills and, during his working day, his Facebook gets updated with his most recent attempts at Dr. Who related coffee tributes and adorable foam kitties.
This is a recipe from The Shotgun Chef and incorporates the family favourite of the kiev with pheasant breasts, a last bite of the pheasant season. The gaminess and leanness of the pheasant can also lend itself more to more garlic for the garlic lovers among us.
- 4 pheasant breasts
- 40g slightly salted butter
- 2 crushed garlic cloves
- 2t mixed, finely chopped herbs – parsley, thyme and a little tarragon work well
- flour (seasoned, for dusting)
- 2 eggs, beaten well
- Mix together the butter with the crushed garlic and finely chopped herbs, wrap in greaseproof paper and put in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.
- Make an incision into the side of each pheasant breast without cutting all the way through and push in a little of the butter.
- Panner the breasts – first dust in the seasoned flour, dip generously in the beaten egg and cover thoroughly in the breadcrumbs. Preheat oven to 180C.
- Cook in the top third of the oven for 30 minutes.