Hot chicks & hens

Last night 10 lovely ladies (or as we prefer, hot chicks) gathered to salute the last single days of our gorgeous girl, A-down-the-hill who, in two weeks time will ‘I do’ and morph from Single- to Marry-dom.  So how does one do this with appropriate pomp, circumstance and little finesse in this day and age?  Being a bunch of foodies and self-titled gourmands (ie. basically little piggies), we all went cooking.
The Underground Cookery School lies beneath St Mary’s Church just behind Finsbury Circus and London Wall and allows participants to drink, prepare a 3-course meal, drink, eat the meal they have prepared, drink and…drink.  Last night, under the watchful eye of Missa and Happy (our two chefs) we made tagliatelle, sea bream with roasted potatoes and salsa verde, and souffle.
It got competitive right from the get-go starting with pretty vigorous dough-making and followed by some serious pasta-machine action.  As with any daunting enterprise (ie. 10 women ranging from mildly tipsy to seriously ‘sociable’ preparing a 3 course meal that they are willing to eat at the end of it all), an early victory can be quite motivational and cries of success soon filled the room as each of us produced a proud little bundle of pasta ribbons.
So what’s next? we asked.
There was sea bream filleting (getting those pesky bones out is more difficult than it looks!), then tomato-(for the pasta sauce)-and potato-(for the sea bream)-roasting and salsa verde-making (again for the sea bream).
There was also Thai green curry prep-ping (for the vegetarians in the group) and then finally the piece d’resistance, the raspberry souffle. But lo and behold, how did that ramekin of salt end up in the saucepan of raspberries – it wouldn’t have been one of we enthusiastically helpful ladies who thought it was the sugar that Missa requested, would it??  Just as well Missa had some other fruit ‘out the back’ so we did not have to go ‘souffle-less’.
Dear oh dear.
After over 5 hours of underground cookery and a delicious meal (with more wine), we bid our patient chefs a fond and rather noisy farewell and moved on for a cheeky cocktail at Lounge Lover in nearby Shoreditch and a quick boogie-on-down in Beach Blanket Babylon next door before dispersing for home – which for three of us was a rather nice hotel – Club Quarters opposite Leadenhall Market.  We agreed that this had two distinct advantages: (1) it was significantly better than dealing with a long trip home and a large cab fare and (2) it provided a rather fabulous opportunity to continue our festival of foodie fun into a rather scrumptious breakfast at The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell.
Seriously people, the best coffee I’ve had for a long time, really yummy scrambled eggs with haloumi, spinach and tomato and then a shared plate of pancakes with berry compote and creme fraiche…you London-ers reading this must go!
So that’s the night (and morning) that was – a tribute to friendship amongst fabulous women and a fitting farewell to singledom for our fair foodie friend.