After my recent musing’s and mixed emotions I think I have 90% decided that I could manage to cope with another winter season here in the Alps. That may come as a surprise as I have probably sounded less keen recently than I did in the beginning.
A few things have led me to this decision. I realise that I need to work hard to occupy myself and keep me sane, and full time work here is seriously hard work and extremely busy. I have realised that I need more company, Mr is great but he gets a very glazed look in his eyes when I start talking about my latest Vogue!!! And the most important thing I think is that I have loved having more time to cook, even though I have just the most basic of kitchen equipment here (my baking kit consists of a saucepan for a mixing bowl, a small rectangular baking tray for everything and an inner from a roll of cling film as my rolling pin!!!!)
My leaving my beloved cookbooks at home was a big mistake, especially when I think of the useless things I bought here instead, leopard print bodysuit, gold clutch bag, string’s of pearls???? Hmm…. And obviously with the lack of internet in our little home it has made it almost impossible to look up recipes, although I do save some when I get the chance to get online.
But the good thing I suppose about not having recipes on standby is that I have had to just make things up, and I am most proud as I have successfully managed to cook some very nice things, even if I do say so myself!!!
So I have set myself a task and a useful one at that. If we come back next winter the only job I think that I could bear to do is run a chalet. I am under no illusion that it is easy. It’s bloody hard work. Cooking breakfast, afternoon tea, canapés and a three course meal for around 14-16 guests six days a week alongside cleaning up after them will be no mean feat but I think I can do it. I am organised and I can cook healthy, tasty, nutritious food, I do not profess to be a chef by any means but dinner party standard is good enough for most chalet companies. And cleaning is cleaning if you happen to have any sense of hygiene. My job this year has not put me off, if anything I think it would be easier in a chalet as the guests are not making a mess in the kitchen (which as mentioned in a previous post is the worst of my job) and I would be cleaning and tidying everyday unlike now where the mess builds up over a week!!!
Part of the application process for chalet work is to submit a menu plan. 7 cooked breakfast options, 7 cakes for afternoon tea, a selection of canapés, 7 starters, 7 mains, 7 vegetarian mains, 7 potatoe/rice/pasta side dishes, 7 vegetable side dishes x2 and 7 deserts!!!! The food has to be budget conscious but not appear cheap, ingredients must be available locally, dishes must not be dishes found on every mountain restaurant menu, dishes must be superior to what the guests would cook themselves for dinner at home during their working week and they must be manageable meals for large numbers and you must take into consideration that transfer day may mean delays and guests arriving at different times so your transfer day menu must reflect that. Easy eh?? Hmmm….
So last week I set about planning my menu. I think it has been good training living here this season. I know what is available in the supermarket, I have experimented with different ingredients, I know what is expensive and I know how to make cheaper ingredients taste good, look less cheap and go further especially as we have been living on a serious budget and prefer to eat nicer meals than instant noodles and toast!! Also being a vegan for 3 and half years has made my vegetarian options much more interesting than the normal crap that I have had to endure many times.
My task is this, each week from now onwards I will be cooking and testing a day of my menu. I cannot afford to do the whole week in one hit due to budget and being only two of us to cook for I would end up the size of a baby elephant!!!! Even with yoga, pilates, gym and skiing!!!
So I will be updating this blog each week with my culinary challenges and I would be interested in your opinions and suggestions so leave me a comment to let me know what you think. The next post will be the start of this weeks trial. Watch this space!!