So at the beginning of the month, as is my want to do when my bank account is full again, I organised another supper for my nearest and dearest at home. This one marking the beginning of October really mirrorred the beginning of the wintry weather. I’d had to stomp through town in my boots and with my umbrella purchasing my various bits and bobs for the evening. Fiona and Lee had to come to my rescue in M&S but somehow I managed to pull it off once more.
So with a wintry chill in the air, yet refusing to completely give up on the summer seasons, I chose a menu that I thought reflected a need for warm and comforting whilst still fresh and light and then there was pudding but more of that later.
This month, we welcomed the return of Lee and the new member of Jen as well as the old familiars. They arrived from work and the pub about 8 to a warm and cosy kitchen filled with candles and gladioli and a slightly tipsy me. I had hit the gin bottle while waiting for them to arrive at the original time of half 7 and had an extra half an hour of gin which doesn’t make for a sensible me. Fiona and Rach arrived first, Rach arrived from a gruelling day in work and yet still looking like a supermodel and Fiona appeared with pudding. Following up the rear were Fish, Lee and Jen.
For starters, I had settled on one of my absolute favourites, Coquilles St Jacques. The little scallop shells baked with scallops and a white wine sauce and topped with mashed potato and breadcrumbs. This is a meal I dream about, that I beg my mother for and that I stare wistfully at in the ready made section of M&S but there was nothing ready made about mine. I pan fried the scallops in a little butter and popped these on the bottom of the shells in fairly thin slices, topped these plump little stars with a creamy white wine sauce, a layer of mash and some breadcrumbs from the freezer and popped them in the oven as soon as everyone arrived. They were delicious; I can’t help complimenting myself! The fishy, almost sweet, flavour of the scallops is lightened by the sauce and the combination of textures between the soft, yielding scallops, the fluffy mashed potato and the more coarse breadcrumbs was heavenly. I could have eaten them and them alone.
For a main course, I had decided on roast leg of lamb and in the week before had started to regret this decision. Suddenly it seemed I was plagued by self doubts of whether I knew how to cook lamb (I certainly do), where I could find a leg of lamb
(from a butcher) and if I would actually die a horrible death while preparing it and burn the house down. Anyway, to cut what could be a very long story short, I found a perfect 2.5 kg leg of lamb and I then called my mother approximately 100 times to ask her how to cook it. I had decided to do it with a lemon, feta and mint breadcrumb crust. Having burned all things that previously resembled crust, I decided to add this at the very end so I ended up roasting the lamb in a very hot oven for 20 minutes, turning this down and taking the lamb out after an hour and a half. When we sat down to our scallops, I put the lamb back in the oven with the breadcrumbs and this was the perfect length of time. We had thin slivers of the pinkest lamb with redcurrant jelly, the best roast potatoes in the world (the difference being they’re my own) and peas and leeks.
Then came pudding… It would be unfair and ungracious on Fiona to say that her pudding wasn’t beautiful looking but I shall be both unfair and ungracious because on its arrival to work on that morning, it looked like a beautiful smelling piece of excrement. The crumbs tasted delicious, it looked dense and it certainly smelled of chocolate but the unavoidable truth of the matter is that it looked like something a cow would leave behind it in a field. We jazzed it up with some cocoa powder, chocolate covered coffee beans and some extremely thick double cream and I will say again, sober, that it was one of the nicest puddings I have eaten a long time!! Looking forward to the next!!
We wound up singing along to power ballads of the 80s and the theme to Dog the Bounty Hunter, we had heart to hearts and we had a couple of spills, smashes and fires but all in all it was lovely evening. Much gin was drank, much vodka was consumed and much wine was wound through but as I bid farewell to the final guest at 4am, I realised that we had achieved yet another lovelyevening with friends!
Two losers who turned up: