Sunday, 21 February 2010

Jeux de société and a bit of shortie - it was bound to end in tears

Yes it was another evening of rip-roaring entertainment at the local school for our local residents' friendly association. The main card game was to be Belote, but we were urged to bring along a game that others could join in and play as well.

I slipped my little pack of Happy Families into my pocket.

However before that, C from my local French family had pointed out that the invitation said that one should not only bring along a game, but also a cake or similar that could be shared with others.

I decided to try my hand at making shortbread, which I have never attempted before. I looked up a recipe on the internet and chose one that I had 3 of the 4 ingredients for. Potato starch powder for thickening soups etc would have to take the place of semolina or rice flour.

I did the weighing and the mixing, the oiling of the baking tray, the rolling out into a flat circle, and put it into the pre-heated oven. When I finally took it out of the oven 25 minutes later, it was still soft, not crispy like the recipe said, but it was starting to go a bit too bronzed.

I sprinkled some sugar on the top scraped it off the tray and left it to cool. It cooled to a rather crispy biscuit consistency, but what the hell. I broke it into 8 rather ragged wedge shapes and stuck them in a small plastic box.

Upon arrival at the school hall, I popped the lid off my box and stuck it on the table which was covered with galettes and other professionally displayed cakery.

I ended up playing belote against 2 fifteen year old girls, with the wife of the president (she is also the mother of one of the 2 girls) as my partner. We were thrashed, but the girls were cheating like mad.

Towards the end of the evening, an elderly gentleman came round the tables pouring out measures of a clear liquid, which he said was at least 50 percent proof. I knocked half of it back and after the coughing stopped, tears were streaming down my face. The others at my table thought that this was extremely funny. (Note to self- I must start practicing drinking strong spirits)

While we were playing, the youngest daughter from my French family and the only person who saw me depositing my shortbread, came up to me and whispered that my gateau was delicious.

When the evening was finally over, I went to retrieve my plastic box and was spotted doing so by the president. “Did you make that?” he asked I admitted that I had and that it was my first attempt. He told me that he had had a piece and really enjoyed it. He went on to say that they had also previously tried making shortbread from an internet recipe, after having received and enjoyed some as a present.

The next day I had an email from the French family saying that my shortbread had been so tasty that they were now going to try making shortbread from an Internet recipe.
When I get my own TV cookery,(surely only a matter of time) programme my first guest will be Jennifer Lopez in "Turning on the tapas"

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