Yesterday was the “Round the Island” race in Cowes, which is one of the most spectacular sailing events in the world with 1800 boats banging about in the Solent at more or less the same time before haring off in a westerly direction to sail around the Isle of Wight.
Started from The Line of the Royal Yacht Squadron, though organised by ‘our’ sailing club, the Island Sailing Club – we’re far too downmarket and common for The Squadron – I’m afraid they’re sort of antedeluvian tosseurs that still have a separate entrance for their ladies – (tosseuses…?) round the back, and where Caroline once took absolutely no notice of the rule and flounced majestically in the main entrance, causing some crusty old buffer to choke on his G and T! – the race lasts all day, and people from all over the world come to take part.
….including the Russians…..for the past 3 years we have had ‘Olga’ to stay. She is the head of the Russian delegation, as I like to call them (as well as the leading light in any eventual Russian bid for the Americas cup!) a hotshot international lawyer and an utterly crazy crazy lady that even Caroline knows I have been besotted with since we first met her !
Last year (knowing I enjoy cooking) she asked whether instead of going to eat in the lousy eateries in Cowes, we could entertain her Russian friends at the house. Delighted to help!
This year 8 of the turned up. Our menu consisted as follows -
Spinach and Spring greens soup with Gorgonzola and Coconut
Cooked the spring greens and spinach til wilted. blitz and then added the coconut milk and gorgonzola. Served garnished with coriander. Sprinkled with grated nutmeg.
or…Cauliflower and Crab soup with fresh prawns
Dead simple…cook cauliflower in stock and added chillis, liquidise, add crab, liquidise again, serve luke warm decorated with fresh prawns.
Roast bonless leg of lamb, served with Potato Boulangere and Ratatouille
Roasted the lamb for 4 hours spiked with garlic and sprinkled with Herbes de Provence.
Sliced potatoes (skin on) and onions, and spread in a huge earthenware dish, with mind-altering amounts of garlic and dried basil, dotted with butter and Emmenthal cheese and poured over with milk. Roasted for 1 3/4 hours
Classic Rat but with no tomatoes (1 Russkie was allergic to them, and you don’t mess with a Russkie allergy…!) each vegetable cooked separately in olive oil (onions, sweet peppers, courgettes and those mauve skinned things i can never remember the name of) then put together and heated up again slowly. Added fresh basil and more chopped garlic at the end.
Desert was a huge bowl of Strawberries and Blueberries served with Lidl Bourbon Vanilla Ice cream
The evening was a blinding success…noisy and funny but it was some of the stereotypical sailing behaviour one might just possibly have expected which (for the second year running) was missing that mad it so nice.
These were posh Russians admittedly (Private bankers, Lawyers, Forex dealers and the like) but my God were they so polite, apologising profusely when a mobile phone went off and going outside, drinking WELL within themselves (I had more to drink than any of them did!!) and even a couple of them stood up when La Caroline came into the room…mind you I usually fall to my knees!
The hoards of floppy haired, loudmouths and their squealy bimbettes that strut around Cowes in their wild weather gear, looking on a calm day in July for all the world as if they have just sailed the Fastnet in a Force 10… could learn a thing or two!
I am still on cloud 9 and will remain there for a long time. They have promised to return next year…OSTROVIA!
(Sorry about the lousy photos…new iPhone coming next week!)
Previous dinner posts from Peter
- Another culinary highlight ... but of a different kind. - May 17th, 2013
- A saturday evening in .... - April 20th, 2013
- Fish pie followed by Peter's Tiramisu ! - March 19th, 2013
- Borough Market, London - March 2nd, 2013
- “There were Angels dining at the Ritz .... and the motor was parked in Berkeley Square” - January 26th, 2013