This blog has recently unintentionally turned into a whinge-fest, a whine festival; it is alas no ray of sunshine after an eclipse. Hopefully soon, normal un-miserable service can resume. Today, I am sick, and A was sent home sick from daycare. And so this afternoon we hung around outside waiting for the floor varnish to be dry enough to walk on to get upstairs- 5pm- as promised- er, no… 6pm, not really… At 6.30pm it seemed touch dry-ish at the kitchen doorway so A and I gingerly made our way around the corner in stocking feet. At the bottom of the stairs, there were pools of wet varnish. After a slightly hysterical phone conversation with L, we decided that A had to get to bed and I’d already left footprints, so upstairs we went. Did I mention that the floors were supposed to be done with water-based, quick-drying, low-fumes varnish? And that this is wet and sticky and stinks and is so obviously oil-based. We are so mad. We thought the floor company had made the mistake- turns out they decided with our contractor yesterday that the state of the floors warrants the oil-based varnish, otherwise some of the different woods would be cloudy. I’m sorry, that’s our call, not theirs. We should get to choose what finish and what fumes we want to live with. Our contractor is very very sorry that he forgot to tell us, but really that doesn’t help. I am one step away from collapsing into a wibbling pile of wibble.
In other happy news, our contractor and tiler are going to fight on our behalf at the tile shop tomorrow. The store are admitting that the mismatched tile is their mistake, and they are willing to replace it. Not refund it, and not pay for any labour. So if we want to rectify the mistake, they think that we should pay for the labour twice- once to make a mess, and once to rectify the mess. Apparently we will be taking them court over this if it can’t be sorted out amicably.
Fun times. And so in the midst of the freezing kitchen- windows open to dissipate those fumes- L and I made Wild Cream of Mushroom Egg Noodle Bake, Hold the Canned Soup. The call from A’s daycare meant that I didn’t get the chance to go grocery shopping for all the different types of mushroom called for, so we had to make do with what Target had, which was button mushrooms and baby bellas. Basically this meal was a lot more complex than the end result. Not that it was difficult by any means, but having three pans going plus a dish in the broiler makes for a lot of washing up and a need for concentration; the food should be really good. In one pan, a bechamel sauce is made, including the white mushrooms, with chicken stock and whole milk, seasoned with nutmeg and salt and pepper. In another pan, the shallots and assorted mushrooms are sautéed, seasoned with salt, pepper and thyme, and the pan deglazed with white wine. Egg noodles cook in the third pan, and everything should hopefully finish at once. The noodles are mixed with the cream sauce and poured into a buttered casserole dish. The mushroom mixture was spread on the surface, with grated Emmental cheese on top. The dish is placed under the broiler until the cheese melts, giving this dish the accolade “fake-bake” when the recipe is formatted for another cookbook. The pasta is topped with chives and served with a green salad.
I wil readily acknowledge two things- we are not on good form to give this dish the fairest trial, and obviously this meal would have been vastly improved if I could have found some of the called for mixed wild mushrooms. Having said that, this dish was unbelievably bland. If someone had given me a taste and asked me to recreate the recipe, this is what I would have done-
- Cook the noodles with a chicken stock cube
- Fry some garlic and mushrooms, deglaze the pan with some pasta water
- Assemble and grate some cheese on top
Really, this tasted like something I used to cook as a student. You could of course use the canned soup for that creamy taste; I really didn’t think the sauce from scratch was that much of an improvement. Perhaps part of the problem was that there was a mountain of pasta to the amount of sauce- diluting the taste away to nothing. We halved the recipe, and there is still enough leftovers to fill a couple of very big eaters.
Well tomorrow we make it again, minus the mushrooms but with chicken and broccoli, in the form of Chicken Divan and Egg Noodle Bake. I’m sure that will be a superbly fortifying dish after a day of potentially looking after a sick toddler without being able to be in the house and therefore put her down for a nap. Can’t wait. Wibble wibble wibble.