Well we call it a Family Lunch but really sometimes I don’t know who will turn up, whether it’s the people I invited or those who happen to tag along. Especially with Fi, who now that she is divorced and as she calls it ‘available for action’ she could bring anyone with her.
Today we are ready for anything! I love lunches like this because it’s the sort of food that you can feed anywhere from 6 to 10 with. I really like this food as I can eat or ‘pick at’ as little as I want without upsetting the chef. Chris has been working all morning on preparation. ‘It’s all in the mise en place’ he says, which I believe he picked up from one of his many favourite cooking shows he has found on a Satellite channel. He has a notebook that writes down recipes, tips; and occasionally phrases that he can use to impress everyone when he sprinkles them into conversation like Sea Salt over Sea Bass.
Today we are having Koftas, Flatbreads and a range of salads, potatoes and other little dishes that you can dip into. He was in London last week and popped into Hus Verdat’s restaurant Yosma on Baker Street, and now I think he has gone a little bit Turkish!
Alex is having a Vegetarian Day today so she is trying to avoid the Koftas. Chris has rasted some vegetables with Herbs de Provence for her, so she is happy.
Everyone loves this style of eating. It’s such a social thing. Not fussy at all and there are quite simple things like Chicken Wings for those who aren’t quite ready for home-made Koftas. I must say, these are my favourite and I do overindulge a bit but when they are home-made they are really juicy and everyone laughs when Yoghurt and Mint drips unctuously from the bottom of my over-stuffed Flatbread. Well a little bit of indulgence is good for the soul, especially if it is with friends, family and Aunty Fi’s latest new best friend or ‘right swipe’. I think she has become overly addicted to ordering from the internet.
My duties for these gatherings mainly lie in organising the drinks and making sure everyone’s glass does not go dry. I am sure we must be the perfect modern couple as our roles are reversed. I know I should be doing the cooking but the truth is Chris is much better at it than me.
Our drinks cabinet seems to grow at an alarming rate. At Christmas we always seem to buy another bottle of Gin when there are at least 2 still there. This was of course before the Gin craze and now we have none in the house. But we do have a bottle of Aperol as I fell in love with it in Venice last year and have been trying to persuade the family that this is the best Summer drink ever. There are just some meals where wine does not quite seem do it for me and this is one of them, so I am making Aperol Spritz for everyone. It is startlingly pretty, refreshing and just what we need on this unusually baking hot day. Everyone seems to like it, although I have made flavoured water for those who don’t feel like imbibing the Aperols.
We often experiment with flavoured water, mainly because I hate the taste of water. My latest is Lime, Mint & Rosemary. Well it works great with Gin!
Chris doesn’t do desserts, so today we are playing safe after all the spicy food, with Lemon Tart, Strawberries and Crème Fraiche. Even I can take a lemon Tart out of the box.
I love the way everyone just tucks in and mixes everything up on their plate. People try things they would never order in a restaurant and the fun is in them discovering something new and talking about it.
I am never sure about whether the cheese should be eaten before or after dessert but as I am not eating Lemon Tart, I have my eye on the Colston Basset. What could be more wonderful than cheese? Except maybe another Aperol Spritz.