Thursday, 29 November 2007

Procrastination, Power Cuts, Preparation And Pulseox Meters!

So I finally got off my backside and posted.....about damn time eh? Why the delay Helen asked, well to start with it was my normal procrastination.....why do today what I can also put off tomorrow!! Then when I shook that off we had a power cut which put the mockers on posting that night......then more procrastination, a brief trip to hospital for a checkup on some sleeping problems then back to more preparation for this weekends cookery and next weeks adult education evening talk on Christmas food........add to the mix the need for getting some of the Christmas cookery event food ordered now to book delivery slots, stuff for the fundraising meal and some family commitments and voila suddenly 2 weeks go by with no posting.

So what's new then?

To answer Helen's question, the adult ed' day course seemed to go quite well. Everyone appeared to have a good day and all of the comments were positive....not much more I can say really. I think that out of all the talks from recent times this one has the possibility to be done again without any problems....although I'm not sure if the education department would feel the same. The best thing of the whole day was hearing from people that they never really realized how much went into the work that they get to see when they visit the working kitchens...all of the research work done by us and the craftsmen that we use to reconstruct some of the items that we use.

Next weeks evening talk on 'Christmas Past' looms large and I'm fairly happy with the talk so far.....just the usual tweaking to do for me to be truly ready to go with it, but that'll have to wait until Monday and Tuesday because of this weekends cookery.
What are we doing this weekend? Hopefully a lot of the 'donkey' work for the Christmas cookery like preparing some stocks and grinding up some almonds and so on; this should mean that at Christmas we can crack straight on with the cookery.
Carter and Pick will also be nice and busy this more bread experiments for's back to meat with a vengeance for them. We've got two deer carcasses coming from the annual deer cull in the park so the boys should b kept nice and busy jointing those up ready for the Christmas cooking.....although I think that we can afford ourselves a treat for Sunday dinner with a little fried venison fillet..... hmmmm.......can't wait.

We should also be trying out some more of the recipes for the fundraising dinner, again trying out portion size and so on, hopefully it'll all go as well as last month which was a resounding success I think....well certainly in terms of clarifying things in my mind anyway. The menu seems to be finalised at our end, we just have to get the conservation department to take a look at it now, then take all of their alterations and set the final dishes.....plenty to keep us on our toes.

As always, the aim over the weekend is to post and keep you abreast of things (technology willing) and pop some pictures up on Flickr after the the way, there are a few more new ones of Roberts up just now......If you get the chance to pop in and see us cooking then do say hello.


Tuesday, 13 November 2007

More Pictures....

....just sent to Flickr for your edification, all taken by Robert and including one of my favourites of recent times....just because of the viewpoint that it was taken from:

I've still got a few of Roberts pictures in reserve for later in the week as well, so check back later on to see what else he took images of.

Not a lot else to say at the moment as I really should be getting on with putting the finishing touches on this Saturdays adult education day that we are running at Hampton Court. A whole day finding out what it is we do and how we go about essence lots of waffling from me, some pretty pictures, a tour through the kitchens talking about the pros and cons of interpreting them, handling some original artefacts and seeing how we go about copying them or having copies made, a brief look at clothing and possibly some of the cock ups we've made over the years (yes we are only human after all!).....all interspersed with coffee and questions as well as, possibly, some secrets and surprises!

If you're one of the people on the course then do say Mum, that doesn't include you!!....and if you aren't lucky enough to be coming along, then I'll do my best to tell you all about it next week.

If you're at all interested in any of the possibilities of adult learning, including evening talks and day courses (not just about food I might add!) then have a look at the HRP website and click on the 'Learning and Discovery' right at the top of the page.....maybe we'll see you there?

Right then, I'm off back to finishing my talks......

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Monkey Business!

OK I'm sorry, I should have posted earlier but what can I say....I'm a man and we get easily distracted, especially by shiny things!!

So how did the weekend go then? Pretty damn good I think. The food all came good not that I ever expected it not to, but we did manage to fit in some useful 'fiddling' and experimenting towards this proposed meal I mentioned before. We tried different sizes for the lumps of meat in stews, different portion sizes for roasted meats and Robin played around trying to make individual sized pies and custard tarts....all with some success.......of course when we get together with the pro' half of the team for this meal things are bound to change as they have so much more experience of this sort of stuff, but at least we can feel that we've had some thoughts and input on the subject.

I'm fairly happy with the menu that's appearing so far, still the final course to sort out and a little jigging to get finished this weekend, but all in all I'm fairly happy and more importantly happy that this menu will provide a good meal for the prospective diners.

I've put a load of pictures (15 I think) up on Flickr, some of which will give you the vaguest idea of what we were doing; I've also got all of Roberts to sort through and upload, possibly tomorrow or Monday and they should help to fill in the blanks (and remind me what else we did so that I can tell you all) as well as show off his superior photographic skills.

I'm honour bound to point out this picture to you all:

For the simple reason that as soon as I took it and said the innocent words "I know where that's going to go" Jorge started to call me rude names......and I'd hate to disappoint him!

I've also added another video again:

nothing special, just Robin chopping an onion finely but I haven't posted a video for a while (or indeed taken any for a few months) so I though a change was as good as a rest.

Whats coming up soon? Adult education courses, the December cookery and of course Christmas at Hampton Court so plenty to be going on I going to tell you about it now?.......what and have nothing to talk about for next week!?

Sunday, 4 November 2007


A brief post today as we've been celebrating tonight(a personal matter within the team that involves a new birth so beers all round....hic).

Happily all went fairly well today and the dishes all seem to go together quite well...I think that the second course is sorted......although that's not to say there isn't work to do on all the recipes yet....let's hope that tomorrow goes as well.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Ready To Go

The stuffs out of the freezer defrosting and we're all ready for the weekend now.....just got the work to do now really!
We spent a good afternoon today discussing what we're going to cook on Saturday and Sunday, so I think that the weekend should go well....a final last minute email from CCC (conservation and collection care.....the people at the Palace who look after the artefacts and objects in the place) expressing their concerns about the food for this fundraising meal mean that we can also spend this weekend looking at their thoughts and trying to address those as well

All in all, I'm quite looking forward to this weekends cooking, hopefully you are too and I'd like to think that we'll get to see some of you in person......if you do come through say hello, we don't bite.........much! One word of warning though, if you drive through Oxshott and need to fill up with petrol watch out.....£1.03 a litre!!!!!! (for our US readers that's about $8 a gallon!?!), that really hurt driving home today, still I suppose it'll teach me to have filled up before I was in dire need of petrol eh?

Hopefully words and possibly pictures posted over the weekend......and who knows, maybe something from Robert as well?