Saturday’s Vegan Feast, in celebration of my best friend Charlie’s
38th 30th Birthday, was an absolute treat.
The prosecco flowed readily, the food (a little bit provided by each guest) was all delicious and my Very Vegan Lemon Drizzle Cake turned out wonderfully! There was, however, one casualty from the day (and I’m not talking about Claire’s little trip after one too many glasses of bubbly!)…
As I mentioned, we’d all convened a week prior to figure out what element of the feast we’d be bringing along.
Vegan food naturally lends itself to sumptuous salads, we had half of us knock up 4 different bowls of the green stuff – so we could all stuff ourselves guilt-free. To go with the salads, Claire and Rachel each provided divine home-made vegan flans and quiches. Although we were just entering the cold months of winter, this summery feast was just the thing we all needed. Vibrantly decorated with peppers and rocket, Claire’s Mediterranean flan was delicious – sweet and fruity, using a cunning mixture of chickpea flour, stock, black salt and yeast to replace the egg.
Rachel, the archetypal scatty member of the group, popped round mine an hour before the Birthday girl arrived, to whip up hers in classic, break-neck speed fashion. She’d speedily researched a dairy-free Spinach Quiche the night before and had just enough time to pull it together, before Charl and the rest of the ladies arrived. Her haste caused, how shall we call it…problems.
I’ve spent years cooking in the kitchen with my children.
They’re still only young, so when I get them helping out in the kitchen with me, I always have to take a little breath in and just ignore the mess they are inevitably going to make. I think of myself as a relatively well-tempered person – that being said, I was not prepared for the chaos that woman brought down upon my lovely kitchen.
It’s a good thing we weren’t planning on eating in the kitchen, as I’d have had to offer all the ladies dust sheets to protect their clothes. So wide-spread was the covering of flour, oil, pastry, seeds and herbs – that I had to abandon the idea of getting any of it clean before the party got started. Worst of all, but fortunately out of sight, was the oven. Although Rachel’s quiche turned out wonderfully, there was a slight spilling of the mixture as it entered the hot oven. We panicked when we smelt the burning, but the quiche was absolutely fine; however an even layer of tofu, oil and parsley was baked solidly to the bottom of my beautiful oven.
Now, I’ve never really been one for cleaning – in fact I detest it.
I think it stems from one of the very first jobs that I took as a teenager, scrubbing dishes in a pub. We had to clean that entire kitchen down every night, it took an age. What made this worse was, every day the chefs would wreck the place – with absolutely no care for how much destruction they caused. Nursing a hefty hangover, I assessed the damage the morning after, whilst Harry was out with the kids (he’d graciously left me ‘in charge’ of cleaning up). This was not a job that I was willing to tackle.
Cleaning up the house after raucous dinner parties is a pain and not something that I plan on ever doing. Thankfully, I have a raft of solutions at my disposal for such an eventuality. Some of these companies are local, whereas some are spread out nationwide.
I can wholeheartedly recommend every one of them – combined together they’re like a Fairy God Mother’s wand for your house. One swish (a few hours later) and your house is back to normal:
[For timely cleaning operations, as cheap as £13p/hr]
These guys are always the first people I run to if I’ve got a big party planned. Obviously the parties never get as raucous as our University days, but it’s still a pleasant thought to know that, no matter how much mess you cause, there’ll be someone there in the morning to sort out what’s left behind. They’re London-based, so bad luck if you’re not living in the City (you can call them on this number: 02034043444).
[Prices vary depending on level of soiling]
There are OvenU franchises dotted all over the country. They’ve got a high standard for oven cleaning operations, offering either a surface level clean or an entire oven dismantling. For the clean freaks amongst you, it’s best to leave the room when they’re performing the latter – you’ll probably faint at the amount of dirt and grease that’s been lying within your oven. Their website has more info right here: https://www.ovenu.co.uk/reading
Clean That Carpet
[Reasonably priced on area needing cleaning]
Another company that’s local to the London area, these guys are total professionals. Regardless of the severity of the stains, they’ve always turned up trumps for me and have saved me from a couple of serious panic attacks. [You can give them a call on this number here: 02038 374 903, they’ve always got plenty of deals on the go.]