It was my turn to do Sunday lunch today and it was one of our regular Sundays when we meet up with Klaus and Sheila. I wanted to try and make my life as easy as possible so that I wasn't running in and out of the kitchen so I had decided upon a relatively easy menu. We were going to start with soup - I had made some marrow and peanut which is usually carrot and peanut but as we have been supplied with a mountain of marrows from Mum's neighbour I decided to go a bit off-piste and made the soup using that. It smells lovely but looks like baby poo sadly!! Still it is made and ready and will just need heating up and I will serve it 'a la Gabors' in a coffee cup.
The main course will be my good old standby of Stifado which I will serve with a selection of vegetables (cooked hopefully to Dad's requirements) and some Cyprus potatoes. At the moment I have only been able to get 'new' potatoes and they are more difficult to roast.
John was in charge of pud - he is much better at duff making than I am and today he was whizzing up one of his lovely lemon curd bread and butter puddings using the last of Mum's home made lemon curd. I am thinking of writing a whole book of recipes dedicated solely to Bread and Butter Puddings - there seems to be so much you can do apart from the standard normal recipe. Mum makes a spectacularly good one using Bailey's liqueur which sounds so wrong but tastes so right.
Although the weather has turned very autumnal we did have a little sunshine today so the conservatory was warm and toasty which is great when you have visitors because otherwise our house can feel incredibly chilly. Having cleaned and hoovered the conservatory the cats made their way back (they are terrified of the hoover) and started to enjoy the sunshine.
Our guests will have to move them if they are going to get a seat and I should always warn visitors NEVER to wear black at our house because that is a real mistake! Boris was stretched out along the whole length of one of the sofas but Charlie had at least left a gap for someone to sit next to him.
Minnie-Mou had taken up residence on 'her' seat - I said to Klaus I was so pleased we spent money having that chair reupholstered just so she can take advantage of it!!! Still we are so much happier when all the cats are in (Chivers sensibly had taken to our bed out of the way) particularly on a Sunday when the hunters are about.
As I said we had a little sunshine but as the day wore on more and more clouds were bubbling up but fortunately we had no rain and it was extremely comfortable in the conservatory and with me cooking the lounge/dining area felt warm too. This is good because the gas fire is still playing up and we are waiting to hear from the guy who is coming to have a look at it next week. When John can get it lit it might run for 20 minutes if we are lucky.
I went around the garden and onto the estate to try and find some flowers to put on the table to make it look nice. There isn't too much about at the moment.
I do have a geranium that has started to flower in the front garden. It is obviously a cutting from somewhere but I can't remember where - the photograph doesn't do it any justice because the flowers are the most extraordinary colour - there is almost a blue glow to the inside of the petals and then a garish fuchsia pink around the edge giving it a two-tone appearance - anyway it provides an impressive flash of colour in the front garden and I am hopeful it will survive there happily.
Lunch was ok - I was disappointed that I got the veg wrong in my attempt to get them right. I part cooked the veg and then plunged them in iced water so I could just reheat when the time was right and I tested them and they all felt done so I don't know what happened but the carrots and the cauliflower were crunchy to say the least - Dad will mark me down on this as he likes some 'give'. Everything else was fine and the pudding was fab so top marks John for turning the meal round at the end.
It is at times like these I do miss not having a dishwasher but I don't have room for a dishwasher so that is that and anyway John says he is my dishwasher and he is but everything in the kitchen is on show when we have guests and if I am cooking the kitchen looks like carnage has taken place even though I try and be tidy and methodical - John will laugh at this because he cannot understand how I managed to get so much dirty when I am cooking.
Anyway it was a nice afternoon crunchy veg and all!!! Klaus and Sheila returned home to rescue their dogs Charlie and Benji and Mum and Dad went back in order to watch the Davis Cup in the comfort of their own chairs. Have to say that the final shot Andy Murray made to win the cup was absolutely outstanding - well done team GB for a very long awaiting win in this competition.
I have to thank Elaine Norton for letting me have the latest (Christmas) issue of Country Homes and Interiors. I do love a magazine and I particularly love a Christmas edition and it is somewhat of a novelty in this house to have a magazine that is newer than about 2009!!!
Magazines are horrendously expensive over here so they tend to be passed around and I am normally somewhere at the end of the list as by the time I get them they are many years old!!
The exception to this Magazine rule is the National Geographic. We buy an annual membership for Dad each Christmas and it is delivered to his door for a reasonable price and they seem to charge about €12 an edition in Paps!
It is always nice to relax with a cuppa and a magazine now and again so anyone coming out to visit please pick up a couple at the airport for me and I will love you forever!!!
We have a mystery this afternoon as Boris has appeared with a nasty sore on his side. It looks like a graze which has taken the skin off - a smaller version of what happened to Chivers a couple of years ago and we had to dress Chivers in a jumper in order to stop him licking the wound which stopped it from healing. It must have happened today at some point because I gave him a big old hug this morning and it wasn't there then.