From Middle East to Making Quiche

He spent the beginning of last week being chauffeured around the splendid British countryside with carfuls of Qatari royalty and defence ministers. All who were on a little aeroplane shopping spree.
The visitors were dressed in their finery, cigarettes clamped between teeth as they minced around muddy puddles and through boggy trenches. Their golden signet rings glinting in the dewy sunshine. Pausing throughout their stay to indulge in feasts of British fare and pomp, silver service and grand entertainment, before retiring to their haunting country manor spa hotel surrounded by cows and hay bales.
His week ended with a few short flights up and down the country, dressed in a sharp suit, accompanied by a bacon roll and a hot cup of tea. I mean… please. Could life be any more glamorous?

Gazing out of the kitchen window while elbow deep in the washing up bowl, a piece of cooked onion plastered to my forearm and a strand of hair irritatingly undetectable on my face, I contemplate whether to pick up the dog poo or empty the hoover.
I mean … please. Could life be any more glamorous?

And then the phone rang.

I was to become the co chair of the spousal entertainment committee.
There was to be an official hand over luncheon.
At our house.

“This is incredibly important!” I screech at him that evening as I scroll through hundreds of recipes for Quiche.
He nods, as solemnly as possible, before retreating upstairs to polish his shoes.

Quiche Lorraine

QuicheServes 8

Pastry:
Buy a ready-made pastry case, remember you still have to dust the house and blow-dry your hair before they arrive, ain’t no one got time for that. If they ask, obviously you made it. Obviously.

Filling: 

175g unsmoked streaky bacon rashers, rind removed, cut into thin strips.

1 onion peeled and chopped.
250ml of single cream. You only live once.
2 Large eggs
125g Of Grated Gruyère cheese
Salt and Black pepper to taste
1 pinch of nutmeg – right at the back of the spice cupboard, orange lid.

Pre-Heat oven to 220*C/ Gas 7/ 425F
Fry the bacon with a little oil over a medium heat for 10 minutes, leave to dry and cool on some kitchen roll. Using the same oiled pan, saute the onions for 8 minutes or until golden. Transfer to the pastry case and top with the strips of bacon and grated Gruyère cheese. 
Mix the cream, eggs, salt and pepper and nutmeg together and pour over the onion, bacon and cheese. 
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until golden and just set. 

The morning of the hand over luncheon dawned, Baby and I danced around with the Shake ’n Vac like we were in a snow globe, as the oven warmed to Quiche baking temperatures.
Carly Rae Jepson and Tom Hanks grooving along with us in, I Really Like You ,as we scrubbed the downstairs loo and placed a fragrant candle on the window sill – nice touch.
Cutlery was polished, Prosecco was chilled, napkins were folded, plates had the previous nights lasagne scratched from the rims and the water jug was fished out from the basket of bath time toys.
Mint was chopped, salad was tossed, mantle pieces were polished, dog hair was swept, fresh flowers were arranged, door mat was shaken, door bell was checked.
Lip stick was applied, hair was swooshed, perfume was spritzed, quiche was sitting, windows were opened.
His trainers were chucked up the stairs, a squash racket was slid under the hall side table, lighting was experimented with; one lamp on, two lamps on, one lamp and one overhead light, no lamps, no overhead lights. one lamp on.
Another hair swoosh.
A nappy change, Baby’s, not mine.
Check the quiche is still where it was the last time I checked, dab at my under eye concealer that keeps settling into my ‘laughter lines’, fluff up the sofa cushions, let Dog out to bring mud in, get the posh water glasses out, look out of the window on the landing, put the heating on.
Offer Baby some blueberries? Nope. Some carrot sticks? Nope. Some popcorn? Nope. Give up. Search for the Classic FM channel – cultured and grown up. Toss the salad again. Quiche is still there. Check the bottom of all mugs for tea stains, put the pre-bought pastry box in the bin, light the fragrant candle in the downstairs loo, take my pyjama bottoms off, slide into a pair of very tight jeans, breathe out. Breathe back in again, very quickly.
Wonder why the house feels chilly with the heating on, close windows, wipe down Baby’s high chair, placate Dog with a treat when he enquires about the daily walk.
More lipstick.

Cars begin to pull up, ladies are walking up my garden path … with clip boards. I don’t have a clip board. Come to think of it, I don’t have a pen. I have a pink highlighter and a box of Crayola’s, half chewed, missing the red one. Paper. just need a sheet. C’mon. Really?! Not even one sheet. Find a charity collection flyer, blank on the back. Fabulous.

They stream in, chatting and laughing. Greeting and air kissing. Prosecco is poured, quiche is sliced, salad is served, I’m wearing high heels in my own house, on a Tuesday, because that’s normal. We sit around the dining room table gushing about the weather, recent outings, how great the quiche is (I know, right?!), how crumbly and rich the pastry is (yup, move along), who’s been where, who’s said what, who’s husbands are coming home, who’s are leaving, Dog saunters in and vomits up a grass ball. Who is attending the next spousal event, more Prosecco is poured, no one wants water from the posh water glasses, some one wants to know how I made the pastry. Someone else comments on the candle in the loo, “nice touch,” they say. I forgot to buy something sweet for after the quiche. Baby is in the high chair trying to do a poo.

Prosecco up close

The current co-chair woman decides to get down to business, clip boards and Parker pens are whipped out with a flourish, lots of snapping, clicking and hair swooshing.
I fetch my flyer and racing green crayon. No one says anything. I pour more Prosecco. Baby has definitely done a poo. I suggest we move to the sitting room, no one argues. We leave Baby there. Kidding.
I am handed reams of paper, filled with phone numbers of relevant people, the Officers’ Mess manager, the ISS manager, the accounts manager, the events manager. I am given lists of instructions of how to organise the spouses Christmas dinner, various Sunday lunches at the mess, the families happy hour, when to arrange the bi-monthly spousal events, how to get the pump on the jumping castle to work. Coffee mornings, bridge afternoons, home visits, luncheons, farewell teas, welcome drinks. The newsletter template, raffle sheets and the official events diary. I am prepped to talk to senior officials, how to approach the CO, how to converse with the wives of various ranks, what gifts to buy for whom for whatever reasons, how often to top up the booze kitty (often, in my case), how to arrange transport for events, how to not forget anything.
I am quite tipsy with power (amongst other things) I nod, ticking and highlighting items with my Crayola.
When the Prosecco runs out, no one wants tea, it all ends with hand shakes, promises to fly the flag high and ensuring the respectable running of the Puddle* Military Spouses Entertainment Committee.
They stream out, “No, really, just how did you make that pastry?!” I titter and playfully tap my nose … , “No, Really?!”
“Bye now!” I say, waving heartily.
Closing the front door on the last of them a gust of wind catches the flame of the fragrant candle in the downstairs loo and sets the dried flower arrangement alight. I throw it all in the toilet and put the lid down.

Dog, Baby and I toddle around hoovering up quiche crumbs and Prosecco dribble.
He arrives home, acknowledges the flaming floral fiasco and promptly leaves again with a set of golf clubs muttering something about a very important meeting.

Gazing out of the kitchen window while elbow deep in the washing up bowl, a piece of cooked onion plastered to my forearm and a strand of hair irritatingly undetectable on my face, I contemplate whether to pick up the dog poo or empty the hoover.

Until next time xoxo

TOP TIP

If you run a military spousal events committee check if places offer military discount, you would be surprised at how many do and how often we forget to ask.

*Puddle, not it’s real name.

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25 thoughts on “From Middle East to Making Quiche

  1. Excellent hosting skills – and quick thinking fire aversion, even under the influence of Prosecco. Quiche is my nemesis, I cannot ever practice it as my husband has a serious egg aversion. I attempted it once with the kids I work with – they called it a ‘milk pie’. Need I say more?

    Cat

    http://www.breedandwrite.co.uk

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  2. What is it about dogs and babies that they always need to perform bodily functions IN FRONT of guests? Argh! Wonderful post though — your writing is marvelous, really should be a serialized column in some literati publication. Move over Alexander McCall Smith! Following you now (not in a stalker-y way I hope!) #snotallaboutyou

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  3. Prossecco and quiche perfect! Such a hostess with the mostest you are! I’m loving the sound of military life after reading your blogs, shame I met an office boy haha (just kidding Luke :-/ )

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  4. Wow.. Blimey… What a task! Hats off to you! You’re amazing! I loved your shake and vac snow globe analogy, it made me giggle. I always have a massive spritz of that and the air freshener when visitirs are coming over. And I love quiche. But I’ve never cooked it myself, if I’m brave I’ll give it a go now! Thanks so much for linking up #thisweekiveloved

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  5. Wow, I almost feel like I’ve read some book somewhere down the line about similar things! Sounds exciting and worrying all at the same time! Do love those moments of reality with poo! Got to keep it real! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

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  6. I would be absolutely hopeless as a function organiser. I litterally couldnt organise a piss up in a brewery. I am however an ace with the shake n vac AND I can make quiche, so maybe a behind the scenes/minion style role is more for me.
    Thanks for linking up, Tracey xx #abitofeverything

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