It is time for our party - postponed by the snow last month. It is a good time of year to have one: people have 'recovered' from Christmas, Lent is not yet upon us, and the dullness of winter weather makes a party seem doubly exciting.
Out came the recipe book: and the strange flutters of paper from ancient inspirations - each one has a memory, though by no means all of them were ever cooked!
Bread from Holy Island - a Retreat on Lindisfarne, where the bread appeared fresh and hot each breakfast. All the more welcome as we came back from an early service at the little church - an arctic trek through the bitter January wind. Memorably cold; memorably inspiring. Going to bed was a matter of removing one's clothes [reluctantly and very fast indeed] climbing into a chilly bed, and placing all the said clothes on top of the bedding in the hope of warmth. Really silly - it would have been better to sleep in them all!
Nasi Goreng - an Aunt's much-loved recipe: almost impossible to re-create as she was someone who added little bits of this-and-that without writing them down - and the spices came from some unknown source. Indonesian Rijstaffel has a completely different taste in Holland. I remember choosing that dish in a restaurant, expecting the light and subtle collection of flavours that I had eaten in Jakarta during the years we lived there. Instead came an unmistakably Dutch invention: stodgy, and filling, but no idea of the subtleties possible.
Lots of recipes in my daughter's handwriting: her dinner parties, and supper parties, in London - quick and delicious after-work, and always decorative and usually scrumptious. We had one pudding which is still a winner: although the first time it gave huge problems, due to the instructions not specifying the SIZE of the 6 oranges to be used. I had large, Jaffa oranges - they were in season - but the amount of juice made the pudding swim and every ingenious 'thickener' had to be used. It turned out that the oranges were meant to be small 'normal' oranges... the quantity [my version] was amazing: luckily everyone loved it...!
So, tomorrow is a different opportunity - finger foods, or light buffet, or however you describe it. Some bought from Tesco [!] some made - including a Tarte Flamiche which is leeks, and tarragon, and cheese in a pastry case - enough for 48! which should keep us cheerful, I hope.
Timings - wonderful tissue paper bows will pin on the walls; the log=burner will glow, and quantities of food and wine will welcome our friends - who have been so supportive during the long 2 years of worry. How lovely to be able to thank them all.