I adored cooking as a child and young adult – and then went through several fallow decades in which I convinced myself that I was no good at it, and pleasure turned to dread very quickly.
That childhood delight is returning, I am happy to say, especially since I am beginning to understand – and thus gain confidence in using – my oven.
On the weekend, my son and his lass came over for twenty-four hours or so – and, on a spontaneous whim, I invited a friend and her daughter to come over and dine with us. The daughter, who is similar in age to my lad and his girlfriend, has connections, by a weird coincidence, with my closest friends in the village I moved from back in December! Such is life!
They are lovely people and I really wanted to try my hand at a dinner party which concentrated mainly upon vegetarian dishes (as my guests were predominantly vegetarian and I tend to prefer eating it these days).
I decided upon two large quiches and two vast bowls of colourful salad, with rustic bread and butter (or butter substitute for those who preferred it) and lashings of wine.
About forty years ago, I was given a luscious vegetarian cookbook (long since lost, sad to relate) and two of its many exquisite concoctions were cheese and broccoli quiche and my all-time favourite, onion, cream and nutmeg quiche. The only problem was lack of recipe. The former, being relatively common, was easy to find; but, try as I might, I was not able to track down the elusive nutmeg and cream variety. So I made it up as I went along – by no means an unusual process!
Admittedly, we had a few teething problems with the oven which first went so slowly that I feared the quiches would never firm up – and then went into Cremator Mode with alarming rapidity and only a nifty bit of hand and over glove work from the Lass saved the day!
It was very much a community project, with the Young Things on salad creation – and, as it turned out, napkin origami – duty, whilst I, red-faced and cursing merrily, concentrated upon the kneading, blind baking, frying and stirring together of the main course’s ingredients.
The table looked gorgeous when all was laid out – so colourful and appetising that I got Boy to take a few photos of the groaning board before we all got down to the serious business of stuffing our faces.
The quiches went down a treat, with everyone – whether vegetarian or not – tucking in like starving intestinal parasites and having about three servings! I was so thrilled and relieved and felt much more confident about hosting friendly meals in the future. There was lots of laughter and merriment and everyone got on really well, with no single ego dominating everyone else.
All in all, it was a grand evening and a true bonding experience. We were still talking and giggling at gone midnight!
I have not been able to access the quiche-related photos Laddie took, so am having to make do with a generic one of cheese and broccoli quiche!
But here is a shot of the table with salad and Lassie’s beautiful table decorations!
And finally, me, after a couple of glasses of red wine, in jubilant Greek dancing mode!
I know, I know: You can’t get the staff, can you?!