The problem with me cooking up a good dinner-party dinner is that I just don’t know when to stop. I start off with only the thoughts in my head. Firstly, I always, without an exception, say to myself that I want the meal to be simple and easy and relaxed. Just a few friends over to share some simple food, some good wine and a couple of laughs. I imagine a sparsely laid table, a humble pasta and a simple fruit dessert, followed by tea. Hmm. But then I remember that xxxx sitting in the cupboard, which I’ve been dying to use. A gift, perhaps, from Ms A or Mr V, or something exotic I bought on a whim from Domino’s, or the Healthy Butcher. I start to formulate a menu, already more complicated than the simple pasta by the sheer audacity of said product. Perhaps something with, um xxxx. So I build the dish, often, though by no means always, starting with the main dish and working forward to dessert, then backwards to the appetiser. Then I go shopping with the straight forward intention of buying only, ONLY the ingredients needed for said dish and discover a whole plethora of different ingredients that look too fresh and good to pass up. These somehow need to be incorporated into the dinner as well. “As well” not “instead of”. Now I have a much larger meal than I started out with in my head but then, put me in front of the Cheese counter and I’m a ticking bomb. Is there anything wrong with a dessert AND a cheese platter? Surely not! That’ll be a good excuse to bring out the Port. Oh, my! They have xxxx 70% chocolate on sale! We can have that after the cheese plate with whiskey or cognac, followed by xxxx’s handmade biscotti with tea. Oh, this is going to be the best dinner ever.
Now comes the death trap.
I start researching on this here interweb thingy for instructions and inspiration for the recipes I want to make. And it’s here that I discover yet another level of the option paralysis that engulfs me. That salad listed over there, while looking up xxxx, looks mighty fine. Perhaps we should have a salad with the main as well. And would you just look at that baked xxxx. Surely this dinner wouldn’t be complete without it as a side. Is that a xxxx pesto? Wouldn’t that just make the perfect amuse bouche before the appetizer?
Before you know it, I’m hand making the vanilla custard, the apple and onion chutney, the maple mustard demi-glaze and the butterscotch jambalaya and whipping an entire Broadway-worthy production into a frothy fizz, simultaneously using every dish, bowl and spatula in the kitchen instead of simply tossing some good egg tagliatelle with fresh cherry tomatoes and olives and tucking into the Hagen Daaz at the end.
Such is the evolution of a dinner party. Ah, well. Bon Apetite.
On a completely different line of thought, the blood oranges are here. These are, without a doubt, my favourite of favourite citrus fruits. I’d eat a bag a day if you’d let me.