Monday, 17 June 2013

June 8th...

We were getting ready for Nicky and Mark who were coming up today and staying overnight.  

It was my job to make up the guest bed - and my bed making skills are never quite up to John's exacting standards!!!

My bottom sheet rarely passes the coin bouncing test - and if you don't know what that is then Wikipedia states... "Military personnel are often expected to fold the bed very tightly, in some cases so that a coin could bounce off of it" and my hospital corners would make personnel from the NHS cry - so apologies to Kaye, Vix, Laura and any other friends who have perfected that particular art. Having witnessed the immaculate beds and bedrooms at Marion's beautiful house last weekend I was keen to make the guest room look as inviting as possible.  This does involve ensuring that neither Chivs nor MM sneak in when you are not looking and make themselves comfortable and spend a jolly hour picking burrs out of their feet and spitting them across the duvet.

We had a quick visit to the kittens, knowing that Nicky and Mark would want to have a little cuddle themselves later when they arrived.  John is now getting Jerry to perfect his 'HIGH FIVE' greeting - Tom looks like he would dearly like to join in but having adopted his hissy stance struggles to back down.

My preparations for this evening's Italian-style meal were well underway.  The tomatoes were being marinaded ready to roast in the oven for about 10 minutes.  The bell peppers were also prepared and ready to be sauted and then left to stand for a while to get good and soft.  These were being stuffed with a savoury rice and cheese filling and roastedinthe oven along with the peppers.

John spent about three hours with a toffee hammer trying to extract sufficient pine nuts for me to toast and add to the tomato, basil and mozzarella salad.  No wonder these things are so damned expensive!! Still I shall be very proud to tell our guests that these were sourced locally and extracted in house at great personal cost to John and me!  In fact nearly all the meal was sourced locally and was fresh and organic - you just can't beat it.

As we suspected Nicky and Mark wanted to go and see the kittens - they were on their best behaviour (the kittens and Nicky and Mark!!) and we just know that, had they have gone to the vets to be put on show to find a home, they could have melted the heart of anyone that passed through the door.

The visit to kittens preceded a rather lengthy cocktail session.  John is getting well into his mixing and although he isn't yet up to juggling shakers and bottles he mixes up some damn fine concoctions.  We started out sitting in the front garden but we were all too hot and had to retire round the back and into the shade.

We managed to hold back on the cocktails enough to be able to enjoy our meal which went down a treat - even if I do say so myself.  

John did some toasted flatbreads drizzled with olive oil, salt and oregano as an accompaniment to the roasted tomatoes, peppers, mozzarella salad and meatballs with pasta.

I had obviously managed to decipher the instructions for the pannacotta sufficiently well as it turned out to be really lovely - I had made it with coconut milk to add to the flavour and served it with some rather nice local strawberries which had enough tartness in them to cut through the pannacotta.

Apart from a few meatballs and pasta everything else was eaten with relish - I do love it when people enjoy the food I have cooked them!

As the sun went down and it began to cool (for Mark and Nicky as they are more used to the temperatures in Emba) we retired indoors and tried to refamiliarise the Kirby's with the game of Crib - not even after a lengthy afternoon session!

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