Friday, 21 October 2011

You have to start somewhere...Alli cooks

The somewhere, this Thursday, is my house. I'm cooking. I'm waiting for a close group of friends to turn up and share the food, booze and spend time chatting, laughing and catching up with each other.

I say 'this Thursday' because we meet up every Thursday, as a group and have done for years. We are all old enough to be post-feminists and we call our night, tongue-in-cheek, 'Birds' Night', and it's a night that is very special to us all.

Taking time out of prepping & cooking 'family meals', to make something more adventurous for the birds, is a pleasure. But the evening is not all about the food - the company is the best aspect of our gatherings and over the years we've seen each other through all sorts of 'life-stuff', chewed the fat about all subjects and prattled on about twaddle as well, and without each other things just wouldn't be right. 

So, what did we prattle on about? I'm not saying. What did we eat? I'll tell you now.

When considering the menu we have to consider a wide range of food needs. I'm the vegetarian and Sally doesn't eat wheat. If I can't make it along to a night then it's a 'meat-fest' in my absence and if Sally can't make it then there's a 'wheat-fest'! You get the idea.

Tonight, it's a full house!

To start: nibbles including olives, vegetable crisps (there would have been some Kettles cheesy crisps but I was so ravenous when I got home from work that I polished most of them off! Sorry birds!)

Main: (Here, I have to admit, that Steve cooked the main meal tonight)

Delicious individual Souffles 
with mature cheddar, Port Salut & Roquefort -
 cooked in their own little ramekins

steamed green beans (from our very own allotment!)

a tomato compote 

a lightly dressed bag a green salad
(from the supermarket, which is near the allotment!) 


Blackberry and Cinnamon Torte
Use rice flour & baking powder to make it wheat free.

I've been making this torte for years as it is easily made by pressing a button on the food processor and pulling out a bag of frozen fruit from the freezer...the neighbours got to the blackberries before me this year. You could experiment with other fruits. Let me know how you get on.

Food can sometimes be tied in to our memories and events in our lives. One of the first nights I made this pie was in September 1997. I know this because I was pregnant with my son, Princess Diana had died and my father had been dead for less than a year. Why are these details important to the recipe? Well, grief hits us all in a million different ways and when Lady Di died the nation went into mourning, but it got to the part of me that was mourning my fathers' death and on the day of the televised funeral of Di, I was desperate to get my large pregnant body, with raging hormones, well away from the we went and picked blackberries. Those berries made their way into the pie when a group of friends got together for a meal. It became known as 'Di Pie'...and has stuck!

Here's the original copy from the pages of my first recipe book - handwritten recipes from pre-computer, internet days.

I copied this recipes from a magazine, wish I'd bought the book as now it sells for over £30! Ursulas-Italian-Desserts

The souffle recipe is from the Anton-Mosimann-Naturally.

So, we eat, we talked and we had a good time. Till next Thursday, have a good week. 

Alli x

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