A beautifully set table makes all the difference to a meal. Our good friends are leaving for Australia to visit their children for Christmas and we shared a lovely lunch this past weekend at their beautiful home in the French country side…saying our thanks for this year, our goodbyes as well as just sharing good home cooked food.
I present to you her gorgeous table.
A cocktail was made by another friend, Carol, perfect to start our afternoon off with….Tequila sunrise: Mix about 3 parts of orange juice to 1 part of Tequila. Slowly pour in some grenadine to have it sink to the bottom and serve with a slice of lime or lemon, or dip the glass rim in lime and sugar.
The demand was high for comfort food, so that was the menu for this sunny winter’s afternoon. Starting off with the Tequila sunrise got us into the mood to continue with a goat’s cheese amuse bouche in Joanna’s pretty rose coloured glasses.
Take some soft goats’ cheese, and roll into balls. Keep refrigerated until needed. Finely chop some black olives, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, basil leaves. Add some olive oil, syrupy balsamic vinegar, a dash of lemon juice and some grated lemon rind. Mix it all together. Place a spoonful of olive mixture in a pretty glass, top with a goats’ cheese ball and finish off with a sprinkling of the olive mixture, a drizzle of olive oil and a small basil leaf. No quantities are given…taste as you go along and add or leave out as your taste-buds dictate. Adapted from a recipe of Sharon.
Then we followed up with a carrot and pineapple soup, lingered over heartwarming, old fashioned shepherd’s pie, creamed spinach and roasted parsnips with rosemary and maple syrup. A great wine and enthusiastic conversation brought us to dessert; steamed ginger pudding and a pumpkin flummery with rich, voluptuous home made custard.
The end of a memorable afternoon; a fire crackling in the fireplace, music softly sounding up in the background, the sun playing frivolously on the glassware, the intermingling of voices and laughter – like J.R.R Tolkien said: “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.“