I have had little influence in the lives of Caroline’s children over the years, but maybe one small contribution that I have made is that I believe her son Oscar has developed a genuine love of good food. He is always prepared to try something new and is interested in the cooking process too. As far as Poppy is concerned I feel I have failed miserably. Burgers, fish and chips and take away chinese form the basis of her culinary interests! Doesn’t surprise me really given her heritage! Sigh…
Today we went up to London for the day and visited Harrods in the afternoon to show a visiting French boy the sights and sounds of the place. Even if Mohammed Al Fayed has now relinquished his stellar tenure, the things Harrods has always been famous for are still as excellent as ever, and the food halls, if not what they were years ago, are still impressive and stocked with products to delight any foodie.
Oscar and his girlfriend Roseanna had already asked to make a Tiramisu at home this evening, and so we of course had to tag on a meal comensurate with that ! We found some snails in a garlic and butter sauce which we quite liked the idea of, and then found an amazing 50% off deal on lobsters! This was to be the basis of our starter – snails and lobby – and then for mains we plumped for a exotic take on Spaghetti alla Vongole with added vongole, prawns and a few cockles!
We trotted home and laid the table in the garden…all candles and atmosphere! Just how I like it. The snails were dumped in the oven, but the lobster we dressed with a Waitrose bought selecti0n of exotic herbs and spices, namely garlic, chili, coriander, ginger and parseley. I brushed then with some Olio Carli Olive oil and put them in the oven for about 20 minutes.
The snails were lovely. The green parsely and garlic butter was excellent….never quite enough garlic for me, but hey ! They disappeared down Oscars neck so fast we almost had to hoik them back up again if we wanted any ourselves….but the lobster really was a revelation.
Lobby Thermidor and the like are all very exotique if you like that sort of thing – and personally I dont – but this ‘dressing’ was just historic. It seemed to go with the lobster meat beautifully and once again there was almost a riot at the table in the effort to get out hands on out due share !! All good, clean fun! I loved the sight (and sound) of Oscar sucking furiously at the carcass in his effort to elicit the last drop of lobby juice!
For mains I did a Vongole sauce with fresh tomatoes, chili, white wine and garlic. Useless chef that I am I didn’t have any pasta in the house, and so had to borrow over the fence! Fusilli is all they had, but they turned out quite brilliant with this particular sauce (I have bored you with my views on ‘long‘ and ‘short‘ pasta, havent I!!) Anyway, this was all gobbled up with enthusiasm and alacrity before we moved on to the Piece de resistance !
Oscar and Roseanna had been slaving away with the Ricotta, cream, Savoiardi and the sweet sherry and had produced a very excellent Tiramisu.
Now I am not one for unalloyed praise and so I will say it lacked enough Savoiardi and had I had the courage of my convictions when I was standing next to him, I would have accidentally knocked Oscar’s elbow to elicit a veritable lake of Sherry in the mix – I personally have no problem with Tiramisu SOUP! – but they made it with (teenage) love and it was beautiful and unctious and they went to the trouble to find a cut glass bowl to make it look nice. Absolutely 10/10 to them…I am afraid I had one teaspoon of the final product, but the others had their fill of it…teenage metabolism being what it is!
We had a great evening. 4 teenagers and me…not a situation I am used to, but take them out of their comfort zones and put them slightly into one’s own and they morph into the wonderful humans they are underneath. Given the choice…an evening with 4 teens or an evening with 4 grown-up, I know which I would take (almost!) every time.
Caroline and I and the cur (who damn well came into season TODAY….aaarghh!) leave for a weeks trip to Somerset, Wales and Yorkshire on Saturday where we intend to do our usual love of open air cooking using great local produce. Can’t wait….we are taking a new Weber portable BBQ with us and look forward to eating our meals in some of the most beautiful locations we can find ! See you there !
Previous dinner posts from Peter
- Isle of Wight College - Catering students 'Classic Evening' dinner. - February 7th, 2014
- Halliford Mere Lakes, Shepperton, Surrey - August 13th, 2013
- The greatest burger ever known.....! Dogzbolloxburgers - June 29th, 2013
- Another culinary highlight ... but of a different kind. - May 17th, 2013
- A saturday evening in .... - April 20th, 2013