Although moving to New York had been a dream of mine since I first visited in 1999, when the opportunity did present itself, some 8 years later, it all happened quite quickly.
I was working at American Express at the time and a director role become available in our sister team in NYC. I had been told that the chance of me getting the job were slim since it was almost unheard of for someone to get promoted into a role in our very competitive New York offices without having a strong network there. So as I went through the interview process, my hopes were not high. But a couple of weeks into it, I was told I had the job and I moved a couple of months later. Between the excitement of the realization of one of my dreams and the manic nature of my last few weeks in London (which I spent packing up my life and having endless farewell parties) I never really thought about what the move really entailed. Until I arrived on a one-way ticket on a very cold night on March 3rd 2007. I remember sitting on my bed that night – the only piece of furniture in my apartment at the time – and realizing with a sense of panic that I actually only knew 2 people here and neither of them that well.
One of them was a colleague, Larry, who had been working from our Sydney office while I was in London. He had made the move to NYC a few months before me and he immediately took my under his wing and we became (and still are) very close friends. I love him to bits and cannot imagine my life without him. I don’t think there is anything we wouldn’t do for each other.
His wonderful niece, Mary, is now studying for a Masters degree at Columbia University and I invited them both over for Sunday lunch.
I had been eyeing a chicken with morels recipe for some time as I love mushrooms. My family are keen mushroom pickers (my parents go mushroom hunting in the woods near their country home during the season all the time) and there is simply nothing better than fresh morels or chanterelles but sadly I knew I wasn’t going to be able to find any fresh ones here. Instead, I bought some good quality dried ones which I soaked before using. Chicken and cream pair beautifully with this strong tasting fungi, and the recipe also called for using a lot of Dijon which gave everything a nice tang. I also made a simple green salad with a champagne vinegar and shallots to cut through the richness of this creamy dish.
For appetizers, I made crab rillettes spiked with lime juice and zest which I served on crostini. And I also made my first ever attempt at bread! I found a recipe for bread rolls that are baked in a muffin tin and don’t require any kneading so I just had to give it a go. They came out great although they did no brown so next time, I will make sure to do an egg wash on top so that they develop a nice golden brown top.
Chicken with Morels & Fingerling Potatoes Recipe – I could not find chanterelles, even dried one, so only used morels. I also used fingerling potatoes because they are my favorites.
Thyme Bread Rolls Recipe – I halved the quantities for the recipe as I did not want to end up with 12 rolls but ended up having to use almost as much water as directed in the original recipe. You basically want the dough to be quite sticky. I would also add a little more salt next time.