This entire week has been consumed by Project Dinner Party. The Chair-folk were going to hold a dinner party at a friend's house and do all the cooking. Juanique, exuberant South African and ex-neighbour, has an apartment in the lovely Ardoch complex. Ardoch includes a lovely 1850s Italianate villa, Dulquhurn, that was converted to flats in the 1920s. Other apartments and bungalows grew up around it in the Arts and Crafts style. In keeping with the Garden Suburb movement of the time the complex is built around a pretty central green. It has a pool. And a gym. As you may guess, I think quite a bit of Ardoch. In fact, we would like to live there. So it was kinda fun to play house in Juanique's apartment, where we were joined by English Sal and her new beau.
I want to live here.
Cooking in someone else's kitchen is a bit of a challenge and when someone says to you 'Oh I don't really have anything kitcheny' it is a good idea to take this sort of statement at face value. Don't go thinking they just mean that they don't have anything fancy or else you will rock up on the evening with a tight cooking schedule in front of you and find that your friend DOESN'T HAVE ANY SAUCEPANS. Or a chopping board. Or dishwashing liquid. Or a stove that has a decent flame and doesn't take 35 minutes to boil a kettle. Still it was quite an adventure and as I spent most of the evening cooking with a glass of champagne in my hand it was rather enjoyable. The bulk of the work fell to Mr C who struggled manfully on and, quite frankly, cooked up a storm.
The menu? To start with: beetroot and feta dip, tzatziki and broad bean dip, served with warm garlicky Turkish bread and a chickpea and silverbeet stew. On to the main: lamb shank and prune tagine with saffron and ginger served with almond and raisin cous cous. Desert = disaster because I tried to get all fancy with a Turkish delight ice cream that wasn't all I hoped it to be (thanks for being so calm during my emergency how-do-I-do-this phone call Lil! and no thanks to you Mr Greg Malouf for your rather terse recipe. Really, it was like haiku. I need a little more than three sentences). Still, it was a lovely candy floss pink and I counted on the goodwill of the guests and figured after all the other yummy food they'd over look a few lumpy bits in desert. Mr C had made a backup plan so the ice cream was served with nutty toasted sesame biscuits, strawberries and Turkish delight, all piled high on a cake stand.
I was very pleased with the evening - food all super yum and the company warm and chatty. The only problem with not cooking in your own home - NO LEFT OVERS!