Last week we had a dinner party for some delectable folks, one, my brand new goddaughter Alice May, peach that she was, she didn’t drink a drop of proffered wine, insisted quite simply on her mother’s finest homebrew. Meanwhile, however, the rest of the bunch well possibly just moi and one or two others got completely plastered.
I know it is the responsibility of the hostess to stay focused and deliver fine food to her invited guests. Yet somehow I always seem to get overexcited and drink rather too quickly, is this just me – do I have some genetic cog that makes me quaff booze faster than others, there is a history of hard-boozing in my family so I cannot rule it out. Others who seem to be able to slowly drink a glass of wine seem incredibly controlled and, quite possibly, dull. Does that mean its better to be a lush and get pissed – of course not, i just enjoy tossing these theories around to make myself feel more, well, enlightened.
I had one vegetarian, so rather than knock up one veggie dish, I decided to do the entire meal vegetarian. A good idea? Well maybe. Being an old school Brit born in the 70’s I subscribe to the need to feed people MEAT at a dinner party. The idea of doing an entire fish based feast was, in short, exciting and for a moment I thought I would rise up on my meteoric hostessing star and provide an abundance of delectableness….
I forgot that I always get pissed.
The starter was fine, smoked salmon, served with julienne beetroot, a dollop of creme fraiche with horseradish and vodka and sprinkled with dill – easy and sublime to boot. This is easy I foolishly thought.
By the main course it was nigh on ten o’clock and several people were seriously starving. I had chosen to serve a tomato-based paprika-ed fish stew. But decided first to smoke some kind of fags – a ridiculous idea and one I always regret the next day. The fish and prawns in the fish stew were actually perfect I cooked them to perfection terrified of over-doing them. Sadly the stew was a disaster for some daft reason I did not follow my normal rules and barely cooked the tomato and chick-pea stew. A tomato based dish must always, always be cooked slowly and gently for bleeding ages to allow the tomatoes to mellow and to give the dish some depth.
Fortunately for me, my honey tends to stay focused at these occasions so he took it upon himself to blast the stew up for another half hour or so. Pudding I managed to pull out of the hat, coffee creams with chocolate orange sauce, courtesy of that old Brit pack Gary Rhodes. beat mascarpone with some 85g of caster sugar, stir in several tablespoons of cold expresso – to taste. Whip some cream and fold it altogether. Make the sauce by melting dark chocolate with a drop of butter, mix in some orange juice and orange zest for a divine sauce – drizzle over and serve.