From the desk of Penelope Alice, Britain’s most fabulous PA – PA Life Club

From the desk of Penelope Alice, Britain’s most fabulous PA

762 380 PA Life Club
  • mattd
  • 0

Bonjour, my lovely readers. I wonder if your week has been more exciting than mine. I doubt it very much, unless of course you’ve been killing animals, too.

I had the pleasure of attending a cooking class entitled “Cooking the Roux Way” at Cactus Kitchens’ quaint location in Clapham. What a great idea for a conversation starter – and an interesting team-building activity to boot. The stunning building is the home of Michel Roux Jr’s cooking school and where BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen Live is filmed.

Our teacher was Chris King, Chef de Cuisine at Roux at the Landau. Sitting in front of him as we sat down for a lesson was a live crab – and it was massive. He then proceeded to tell us we would be working with live animals and showed us how to kill the poor thing. Thank goodness he assured me this was a humane practice; otherwise, I might have fainted clean away right then and there. I had committed to the class, though, so I closed my eyes and got on with it. Unfortunately, the thing was still moving when I dropped it into the boiling water and it tried to stretch its legs, meaning it would hardly fit in the pot.

Preparing the scallops was possibly more unnerving than the crab, as they tend to squirm in their shells as you cut them out. For my first time cooking scallops I’d say I did a smashing job of it though and they were delicious with a spiced pepper coulis and a glass of Malard 2006 Vintage champagne, served by Charlie Villers from the Rare and Fine Wine Company.

Having just had a glass of wine with lunch and champagne with the scallops, I struggled with preparing my razor clams with chorizo and seashore vegetables, mostly because they are infinitely less attractive alive than when they’re on a plate. Poor Chris had to help me quite a few times, but the end result was divine and served with another glass of fizz.

Getting the meat from our crabs was an experience in itself and not one I’m keen to repeat any time soon, especially when wearing my new favourite boots (do be sure to dress down if you plan on doing this yourself). Nevertheless, I was impressed with the end result of a perfectly dressed crab and, quite frankly, with the champagne still flowing, I found myself not caring that I had stared my dinner in the face and whispered insincere apologies to it not three hours before. Still, I think I’ll leave the unsavoury task of preparing my meals to the professionals from now on.