Supper For Eight

I am never quite sure just how it happens that you do for a supper for just eight people and it is not fancy, so no implements for removing lobster flesh for example, but by the end of the evening they have created enough dirty plates and glasses to generously coat every flat surface in the kitchen.

Admittedly, at that stage of the evening my loading of the dishwasher can be a little less than perfectly done, ( it never is perfectly done according to my best friend and dishwasher-loading perfectionist).

And to be fair too, we don’t put our glasses or cutlery in the dishwasher as they are old, from various French flea markets, and go cloudy or tarnished.

Even so, it is remarkable how eight nice, polite, interesting people can wilfully create such a lot of dirty stuff and laugh cheerfully throughout the evening as they do it.

But, whilst I can throw several shades of a dicky fit over my best beloved’s inability to put everyday breakfast bowls and mugs into the dishwasher, I don’t actually mind the clearing up after a ‘do.’

Dog and husband have a very clear attitude that this should be left to another day and that anyone who wants to be awake at 1am loading dishwashers, is on her own.

But I quite like that wind down with the BBC World Service telling me what is happening in Nigeria or about Indonesian political scandals, whilst I go about my business.

And I like restoring order after the chaos.

You need to know at this stage, I am not complaining about the mess because we had a great evening.

It was a kitchen supper not because we are posh people trying to show that we can do casual and informal, but because we are not posh people and have nowhere to sit everyone except in the kitchen.

The mix worked well – always a lucky break and not guaranteed, though in this case was a pretty sure bet – and though I know I am repeating myself, we had a lovely time.

I am sure you couldn’t care less what we ate but I am going to tell you anyway so if you are not interested, time to leave.

Mushrooms chopped up by a whizz in the food processor and saluted lengthily ( you can’t overcook a mushroom) with tarragon and then mixed with a very tasty cream cheese from Cornwall via Waitrose. Put on bruschetta from Lidl.

Winter minestrone with chard and beans and carrots and celery and garlic etc. The secret is to keep the rind ends of parmesan in your freezer and put one or two into the soup as it cooks.

Thin lamb chops marinaded in pomegranate molasses, olive oil, garlic and lemon zest and then shoved under a grill or in a hot oven until they are rightly done – not overdone, mind.

And my current favourite recipe – slices of new potatoes cooked in water, olive oil, garlic and saffron, mixed with artichokes ( please note from a tin, rinsed and sauted, not done from fresh, you must be joking,) green olives , parsley and it all coated with creme fraiche – then put in a puff pastry pie – and no, of course, I didn’t make the pastry.

( If you want the real version of this google ‘Cranks artichokes puff pastry’ but Nadine makes you do stuff with real artichokes and adds nuts and stuff which I am sure is pretty delicious, but my easy version wins for me I am afraid.)

Can I just remind you at this stage that there is something in the make-up of parsley with counteracts the next day less-than-delightful garlic breath so it is a must add if you are using as much garlic as in this ‘menu.’

I don’t eat desserts and am rubbish at making them, so very kind friend/guest made lovely lemon mousse thing – it disappeared without touching the sides.

Cheese, chocolates and all that malarky – but to be fair, cheese and chocolates hardly add a smidgen to the washing up.

A non-invited friend, who is not a cook, was practically salivating when I told her about the pie and I (gaily) thought I would have plenty of leftovers because of a lifetime habit of over-catering – blame my Lancashire grandmother who instilled the idea that hospitality means lots of food.

I invited her, her husband, my best friend and her husband for Sunday lunch.

Dear reader, there was little in the way of leftovers but that is another menu story…….


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