Friday, 23 February 2018

Friends for Supper...

It was up and at 'em the Mighty Chatham in our house today as we got ready for dinner this evening with Di, Rob, John and Susan.  I love cooking when the people I am cooking for have good appetites so it was catering on an industrial scale with both my slow cookers brought into action for tonight's diners as both Rob and Susan have marvelous appetites.  Although I had planned my menu carefully I had failed to check whether or not I had sweet chili sauce and finding that I only had a scraping set about making my own as by first job of the day.  Never having done it before I wanted to leave sufficient time to make two or three attempts before sending John down to the shops if needs be.  My first offering was hot to say the least but after consulting my chief taster we toned it down until it looked and tasted every bit as good as anything I have ever bought, in fact better as it didn't have that nuclear orange colour.  It is easy to make if you have all the ingredients and I would encourage anyone to give it a go.  The recipe is linked on my food page - try it - you won't be disappointed.

My starter was a Korean dish of crab fritters which I had made yesterday and which needed to be heated through before serving.  Again these were easy to make and the recipe is also linked on my food page and if you think you don't like crab, think again, this gives just a delicate flavour and the overall effect was a light and tasty start to the meal - served with the chili sauce it was a real winner.

Pleased to report that the lemon cake was a much much lighter consistency having used the Bicarbonate of Soda rather than baking powder and John had an inspirational idea to make a lemon icecream to go with it which we did by blending some vanilla icecream, lemon curd, lemoncello and lemon pickle until it was smooth and then filling shot glasses which we then froze.  Some of John's ideas for combinations or serving suggestions can be out there but this was a winner.

We got the table laid, I wisely chose the patterned tablecloth which doesn't show any spillages, which was just as well as Susan launched quite an amount of horseradish sauce all over it!  We struggle to feed six in a nice coordinated fashion having, over the years, lost items of cutlery or broken bits of china and, as we don't do six very often, have failed to replace them, this causes issues when we do actually entertain that number.  Somewhere there is my sixth pastry fork but good knows where - we bought them over here so it isn't like it got lost in transit.  I broke one of my small sauce jugs so although I had planned to serve the chili sauce all pretty in individual jugs I couldn't.  The list foes on but I take the view that if we keep the lighting ambient (for which read subdued) no-one will notice the mismatches and it wont have an effect on the food.

Our guests arrived at 6.30 because we know that Susan is an early riser and likes therefore to go to be reasonably early, having said that no-one left till gone 11.00pm.  We started by having drinkies in the conservatory which was warm and cosy but we reckon it could do with a bit more light in there - this was originally outside space which we have subsequently incorporated into the house so it wasn't designed to be lived in and therefore suffers from a distinct lack of power points.

Dinner seemed to go down well, certainly the food was eaten and the conversation flowed as did the wine.  The hours seemed to melt away as we sat around our little table, sometimes joined by Charlie (ever hopeful of a morsel coming his way).  As I have said before John and Susan have totally different hobbies and interests to us so our paths would rarely cross if we didn't organise to meet periodically for a meal but then the conversation never flags because we will always have things to catch up on.  It is a good mix the three couples and it gives me a real feeling of satisfaction to sit back and see good friends sitting around our table enjoying our food.

Once they had left John and I tackled the washing up - as I said, I don't wish for much but periodically I would really love the convenience of a dish-washer, John says I have one and it is him.  He is right and there is something quite companionable standing side by side doing the dishes together at the end of a very satisfying evening.

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