B, Karen and I gathered around the kitchen bench on a Sunday afternoon, with the company and hospitality of my father Malcolm, his wife Betsy, and the boisterous cocker spaniel Manny, we spent hours cooking and laughing.
It was mayhem as we chopped, skinned, mixed, blended, talked, and stirred up a few courses that we shared in the evening with my brother Sam and his partner Jacqui.
I wish I had taken more pictures of us as we went, but the mayhem I mentioned above… well, yeah.
Betsy was busy with a tapestry she was making as a wedding gift, and Manny was busy being Manny. That is a full time job in case you were wondering. Betsy is a wonderful cook and was helping from the sidelines most of the day. She also contributed the idea of the olive oil and dessert wine cake for our last course.
Karen used to work as a cook, in high pressured, fine dining kitchens. She has also taught cooking classes, and is always an absolute pleasure to cook with and learn from. She spent the day giving us sage advice, and making up a chickpea fritter with a fresh tomato salsa recipe. It was all measured by eye and taste, but the fritters were made with… mashed cooked chickpeas, Indian besan flour (made from chickpeas), white flour, baking powder, milk, chopped spring onion, cumin seed, salt, chilli powder, fresh oregano and garlic. If you want her to develop a recipe for us to post… you need to campaign her. Feel free to be vocal in the comments.
The salsa was fresh and vibrant, delicious on the crispy fritters. The salsa was a mix of tomato, spanish onion, chilli powder, fresh oregano, De Soto sherry vinegar, olive oil, a small pinch of brown sugar and salt.
We ate those first as we all gathered around the kitchen bench (which looked like a whirlwind had been through), to have a pre-dinner Campari and soda.
The first dish we ate at the table was one of my long time favourites, a mussels recipe by Karen Martini with chorizo, white wine, tomato and onion as the main flavours. The mussels are mixed through pearl or risoni pasta. I will post the recipe soon.
B made a vegetable dish that was as beautiful as it was filled with love. It is something her father used to make. It was a lovely clean dish to have after the rich flavoured mussels. This one is so simple in concept, and B is planning to post the recipe.
And then came the olive oil and dessert wine cake, from a recipe by Stephanie Alexander. B and Karen made this cake with a little help from me. If you call ‘help’ handing them the salt instead of the sugar, and then making them start over again. It was sensational in spite of my innocent attempts at sabotage. It was light like a sponge, but with a lovely density thanks to the oil and sticky wine.
My partners in crime… B and Karen
Dad, or as you may wish to call him, Malcolm…
and my younger brother Sam.
One guess who was taking the photos and didn’t get one of herself?
Will another picture of Manny suffice?