The previous Saturday (now writing this 6 days later) we had been cooking for 31 in the midst of a powercut which lasted the whole night from before we got there. Burn out at the local substation. We couldn't even get in through the electric entrance gates when we arrived. One of the guests kindly reversed their car down the long drive and I transferred everything from the van, balancing on the cattlegrid in the van hadlights (don't look down) and into his car. Some 45 minutes later we were ready to cook..... without the electric oven or hob. Luckily there was an aga which I was already well acquainted with (another interesting saga with pigeons in feather and frozen pheasants for 26 guests which they had brought with them for me to cook around 11 months previously). The aga is on permenant go slow. The potatoes which normally cook in 10 - 15 minutes took 1 1/2 hours, and the water for coffee and washing up around 1 hour. If I had not pre-cooked the pheasant before we came out (even the electric oven there only goes up to 180 oC and is quite small for 30 people - and only useful when you have electicity) I am not really sure what time they would have eaten the main course. Front of house of course, everything was perfect - and everyone was really happy ("it was more than I could ever have hoped for - and that was in normal circumstances"). Chocolate fondue went down well too. With all the years of experience we had bewteen us, it was just another challenge - you have to have a sense of humour about these things. Great new trio of fish starters - but couldn't actually find the camera in the candlelight to take a photo - it really was hard to see anything - only found it by accident clearing up around midnight.
That was Saturday (and 3 1/2 hours of Sunday). Then it was a rapid turn-around on Sunday into Monday gearing up for the next party on the Monday night. So by midnight on Monday the only thing I could think of was fast food (above) - sweet potato and leek pearl barley and spelt risotto as I had served on Saturday night (the best one yet - so annoyed I didn't find the camera), and portobello mushrooms and spinach left from Gill's Saturday party. The spelt was accidental - I had picked up the wrong packet from the shelf in haste, but decided to try it anyway, and it worked really well. I used cider instead of white wine in the risotto base, and there was a bit of rosemary mixed in too from the garden - the only herb I could see out there in the dark.
Might get round to the sweet and sour jerualem artichokes later for this week's MFM.
More info on Meat Free Monday here.