Monday 16 September 2019

Apple Dinner Party

Yesterday I made 4 litres of apple juice for cider, presided over the After-Mass teapot, and made an apple-themed three-course dinner for five.  Then I cleaned up and, oh, my poor back.  I slept well, though.

I love cooking for dinner parties, even if I get a bit stressed. Benedict Ambrose does almost all of the everyday cooking, and his method is entirely different from mine. B.A. cooks slowly. It helps him relax after work.  He potters. He listens to the BBC or some rather more Catholic broadcaster. He never consults a cookbook. Meals usually consist of one course.  If there is a pudding, it is shop-bought. He does not get stressed.

I, on the other hand, cook only for the dinner parties. I plot out three courses, at minimum, and I consider shop-bought puddings at dinner parties shameful, shameful, shameful, except in France. In France you are allowed to get dessert from a patisserie; in Great Britain absolutely not! (Shame!) I do not potter. I follow recipes. I mentally break down all the cooking into jobs, and I try to determine the best order in which they should be done. I need three hours minimum to make three courses (plus veg), and if the house is not guest-tidy, I need large plastic bags into which to store clutter.

Benedict Ambrose has almost learned he must never enter the kitchen when I am cooking for a dinner party. He has known me for almost eleven years, and this kitchen is smaller than my last, but still he creeps in for a glass of water or whatever. At least he no longer attempts to make a sandwich.

I felt a bit homesick for the Historical House as I chopped red cabbage, etc., and the days in which I was underemployed and therefore could have more dinner parties. One of the worst things about leaving the H.H. was losing the memories of dinner parties past, which still echoed in the halls when  B.A. and I were tossed out departed.  However, the more dinner parties we have in the new flat, the more it feels like home.  

Last night's menu was Carrot-Apple Soup with Homemade Rye Bread (the latter made by a friend); Roast Pork Loin with Apple Cider Gravy, Roast King Edward Potatoes, Braised Red Cabbage with Apples, and Broccoli; and Polish Apple "Szarlotka" Pie with Double Cream.

There were Gin and Tonics to drink beforehand, and the last five bottles of last year's homemade apple cider to have with the pork. There was a bottle of red wine for anyone who preferred that with dinner, and there was a dessert wine at the end. And coffee. With the cocoa cookies I had made two days before when I had a snack attack in the snackless flat.

Cleaning up was a Herculean task because I also had to clean up the ravages of juice-making, too. I had squeezed apples until it was time to get ready for Mass and after Mass I went to the grocery store, so I hadn't had time to clean off the apple press, etc.

The most amusing moment of the party that I can remember was when one of the guests discovered a painting by Polish Pretend Daughter-in-Law of a group of wedding guests, including him.

B.A. made a wonderful dish of his own invention for dinner tonight:  half curry, half tagine, out of most of the rest of the pork roast. It has curry powder, apricots, coconut, veggie stock, yogurt and beer, and I am now slipping into a food coma. Zzzzz.

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