It happened on last Sunday and as far as I can remember it happened for the first time. Gino built up in front of me presenting one of my shoes. Actually this is a daily scenario since Gino drags along any shoes he can get hold of as long he can see (and smell) that there are bread (or any other) leftovers on the breakfast or dining table. He seems to be convinced that bringing along shoes and slippers (and many other things) makes it easy for us finding an excuse to reward him. But on Sunday it was not ANY shoe, it was exactly one of my shoes which I usually put on when I take him out for a (long) walk. No doubt, my dear Gino boy, born to be happy and patient, had a slight hint of "hey, you are neglecting me..." in mind. And when he realized that I obviously got the message("yes, but later...") he plunked down with a hearty sigh (Typically, he never lies down in an elegant way, there's always a bang to be noticed all over the house so I not rarely rush up to check if Herbert has fallen out of his chair) Keeping the shoe between his legs he seemed to be waiting for better times to come. We had rain pouring down for three days during the long weekend, but of course I could not resist that charming request - or invitation ? - and we enjoyed a walk between the rain drops on that day.
Gino is right, as usual. We have to take up our usual routine again, also in many other respects (for example: blogging :-). But there are good news and I am really happy since I have attained a goal inspite of not being in the middle of the easiest phase of my life. I have passed my exam !!! Imagine, I now can start any venture between a kebab stand and a *****de luxe hotel (depending on the sum I can invest, hahaha...). Ok, I will finally be able to start my "The flying Apple" catering business, if only I enlarge my kitchen and afterwards get a permission to use the facilities on a professional basis. The red tape never ends, but, however, the first and most decisive step has been taken.
The exam itself was not a Sunday walk as we say. The tough question-answer-play at the Austrian Chamber of Commerce between 4 very honorable gentlemen ("Kommerzialräte", for Austrian insiders), without any doubt old hands at the gastronomy business, and myself lasted almost 45 minutes. At the beginning they asked what I would plan to do. Inspite of wondering how they would react when such a greenhorn was telling about offering taylor-made menus even just for 2 persons if desired, creative buffets and maybe also specializing on food for people being on a diet (especially for diabetes) I decided to talk frankly about my plans. Much to my surprise their reaction was - enermous interest. Then one of them challenged me to describe a menu which I would like to offer. What an opportunity to bring the discussion into a direction which would make it easy for me. I voted for a menu piemontese - any suprise ? : peperonate al tonno (a signature dish of mine, recipe to follow soon) - tortellini al brodo - bollito misto - and to end up with, profiterole al caffè (see my last post !!!) The first examiner (he seemed to be a patissier) even wanted to know in detail how choux pastry is made and what the baker has to be careful about. Many other questions followed, also in the "dry" (and tough) fields of law as well as industial hygiene. But as you know the way how it starts is more or less descisive, at least for one's own feeling and self-confidence. Though I had two little blackouts regarding names it went well, ok - it went very well. Even if the sound of today's post may be a little bigheaded I frankly admit that I am a wee bit proud. Imagine, at the end they stated that they would wish to have more people in their business showing such enthusiasm and background knowledge (well, I am sure they have never heard anything about foodbloggers... ;-) and I passed with excellent success. What affirmation ! I am sure you fellow foodbloggers can understand my joy more than anybody else...
And to make my happiness perfect there happened something else on that Monday, April 24th. "Angelika, have you passed your exam ??" .... "And have you already got your first order ?"... That's how it sounded across the fence. Imagine, our dear neighbours Hanni and Rudi (they run an internationally acting company) "booked" The flying Apple. Instantly. For a buffet party already on last Friday, given for their employees on the occasion of Rudi's birthday. So, after a nightship, I delivered and arranged 220 pieces of fingerfood at their headquarters and they seemed to enjoy it :-) Thank you, dear friends, for making me a happy girl :-) and once again a very happy birthday and all the best to you and your wonderful family, dear Rudi !
Well, there will be more walks for Gino in the near future, promised. But, how wonderful, a dream is about to come true. And ? From now on foodblogging HAS TO be done FOR DUTY REASONS :-))) Hurrah !
This is what I prepared for the buffet (you will easily recognize that among others I have used several recipes adopted during the past months from my fellow Austrian but London based blogging friend Johanna who is one of my favourite sources for great recipes and a true expert regarding fingerfood - thank you, Johanna, for inspiring me !):
Artichokes filled with tuna mousse
Poached zucchini (courgette) stems with avocado-goat cheese filling (avo and goat cheese - one of the most fabulous and stunning food pairings I know !)
Johanna's famous salmon roly polies
Prosciutto-honey-mustard palmiers, again Johanna's
Makhouda d'aubergine (thanks to Melissa)
Puff Pastries filled with asparagus mousse
Jägerwecken (a revival of the seventies, using an old recipe, but here you can find a smiliar one)
Strawberry-white chocolate cream-tartelettes (adapted recipe, originally inspired again by Johanna)
Tartelettes au citron (recipe see below)
Tarte(lettes) au Citron
Yields 1 large tarte or approx. 20 tartelettes :
Filling for a prebaked pastry-case (or good quality confectionery tartelette bases):
- 4 egg yolks
- 200 g caster sugar
- 200 g crème fraiche
- finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 4 gelatine sheets
- 250 ml whipping cream
- for decoration: handful of pinenuts, gently toasted
Beat the egg yolks, half of the sugar amount and lemon zest until the mixture is pale and glossy. Add the crème fraiche. Heat the lemon juice in a tiny pan and dissolve the gelatine sheets according to instructions. While whisking steadily (using your handmixer or food blender) gently pour the dissolved gelatine into the egg-crème fraiche-mixture. Refrigerate until it starts getting stiff. Beat the whipping cream together with the remaining sugar until stiff and fold into the egg-crème fraiche-mixture. Refrigerate again for approximately one hour until it has reached a perfect texture enabling you to fill it into the pastry case(s). If using decorate with gently toasted pinenuts.
When you make the pastry case(s) on your own I can advice you to sprinkle it with caster sugar before baking to attain a caramelizing effect which later on will prevent the pastry base from getting soggy after being filled. When using prebaked cases it might be a good idea to brush them with (lemon) jam instead - in case you do not intend to serve the tarte or tartelettes without any further delay.