Sunday, 12 April 2009

Easter Sunday Joy

I've really had a lovely day today. Yesterday was hard work, but it definitely paid off. Basically, we spent all of Saturday either shopping for food, or working in the kitchen - and today we harvested the fruits of our labour with much delight.

The neighbours came round at around 1pm for a spot of lunch. They're a wildly entertaining bunch, and certainly like their food and wine, which is always a pleasure. They're also the sort of people who are genuinely enthusiastic about things. Great shouts of glee greeted each course, especially the pudding - which (and here I glow with pleasure, so forgive me) was called 'inspirational.' There was much banter, a spot of politics to get the teeth into, but mostly the tellings of tales. They stayed until 6 - which is a pretty good innings - and we sat outside in the sunny, warm garden for ages. It was about as idyllic as you can get, and Fisher and I are nauseatingly pleased with out lot.

I must just note down my menu for future reference, before I forget what I did. Not that that's likely, considering the time and energy it took! But here it is:

Main Course: Roast lamb stuffed with: figs, prunes, apricots, walnuts, celery, onions, breadcrumbs, egg yolk to bind. The fruit was steeped in apple juice for several hours, then strained, and the reserved juice used to make a zesty gravy. Fisher made the stuffing to perfection.

Pudding: Quails' eggs stuffed with chocolate. This involves blowing 12 quails' eggs, washing out the shells, then inserting melted chocolate into the teeny tiny hole. This is not something I will be repeating in a hurry. More chocolate ended up down my front than in the teeny tiny holes, and I had no idea how much had actually entered each egg until they were devoured on the morrow. Fisher and I actually weighed each one and made sure everyone had a heavy one and a light one, in the hopes that at least some of them had worked. Luckily, they all worked, and because you can eat the shells of quails' eggs, they were a crunchy, chocolatey joy.
Also: One duck egg each, blown and stuffed with home made cardomom and ginger ice cream. I served the egg in an egg cup (obviously) and this was accompanied by Fisher's genius idea of caramelised brioche, cut into soldiers. Basically, it was a bit of Easter egg fun, and I was SO pleased that everyone squealed over it. It was a 50-50 effort from Fisher and me - real team work - and when everything worked better than I ever hoped, I actually found myself punching the air with delight. Not, you understand, in front of anyone. I was on my own in the loo at the time. Not ON the loo, you understand. That might have caused seat-slippage, and we don't want to go there.

We got through quite a bit of booze, too. 5 bottles of red wine, a bottle of champage, a bottle of Pimm's and a couple of drams of Chateau d'Yqueme Edradour (which is just the most glorious whisky ever - or so I think at the moment). After everyone left to feed their animals, I was left with alcohol-fuelled energy coupled with alcohol-fuelled brainlessness. I really do hate being tipsy in the middle of the day. I want my brain to work. It's one thing if you drink in the evening, then go to bed; it's quite another if you drink when you actually need your brain. I can't imagine ever becoming an alcoholic. Being befuddled and energised at the same time is a most distressing sensation. You want to do things, but you can't do all your usual entertainments because your mind won't focus.

Bah! Sober is better.

So that was Easter Sunday. Relaxed, chatty, tasty, funny, triumphant - what more could I ask for?