"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

just one of "those" days

Thank goodness I don't have too many days like yesterday.  Everything should have worked so well. It started off with a long walk in the morning and by 10.30 was ready to face the day.  A quick visit to the office to check emails and bank statements, off to the warehouse to collect 2 nice orders for delivery.  Route planned via Constantia Pick n Pay where I would do the shopping for the dinner party.  Nic and Matt were back, not many of the family had seen them, so a good reason to get together. 16 or 18 people sounds like an enormous amount of guests but it is pretty regular for our family. 

I had my list of ingredients and it was to be a budget type winter supper.  Nicky's Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup, loaves of crusty breads, a penne type macaroni dish with bacon and mushrooms and a vegetarian version with spinach and feta for the virtuous ones.

The soup is easy and always a success.  Nice big pot simmering away - maybe a tad too much chilli - or was it just the slightly burning sensation of the ginger? That element of doubt gave the soup the edge (I thought) and, I am sure would open up the conversation for an interesting tasting debate around the table.  What are you tasting, ginger or chilli? Is it a ginger burn or a chilli burn?

The thermostat on my oven is giving me trouble.  I thought I was understanding it and could work around it, but last night it decided to not play by the rules.  The pasta had a crispy crust (almost on the burnt side) but was cold below.  I had used my biggest (huge) dish that does not fit into microwave, crispy (almost burnt) crust that is now stuck to the sides of the big dish, impatient me who decides to lift it into small dishes for microwaving with an egg lifter.  Broken crust, pasta on the floor and 3 new dishes now being warmed in the microwave.

Anyway back to the soup.  Dished from the pot at the table.  New soup bowls which are probably quite a bit bigger than what I am used to.  Usually, I am not a bad judge of quantities when dishing up.  However, when I got down to the last four ladles in the pot I realised that I had two latecomers still to arrive and four people waiting for soup.  The rest were tucking in happily so it would have been hard to ask for some back.   I began to regret the "please eat, it is going to get cold" comment.

Bright idea - Add more coconut milk!!  The soup was on the thick side.  Whisked the pot off back to the kitchen and stove top, a can of coconut milk added.  Now a very milky looking liquid.  The latecomers would not be aware of the viscosity of the soup the others were enjoying but what about the other four who were now patiently watching the others eat?  I remembered some Woolies croutons that were hidden (and a bit soggy) in the lettuce drawer of the fridge.  I floated them on top.  "I didn't get any croutons" mentioned Kelly politely as I delivered to the hungry four.  She received a poke in the ribs and a wink from me.

The wine was flowing the fire was roaring.  It was great to have everyone around the table again (except for Gareth who is working in Borneo - Good dinner to miss Gareth).  It was good to hear the tales of London, LA and Bangalore.

Eventually the macaroni was warm (could have been warmer).  Matthew decided to invent a last minute addition to the salad of toasted sesame seeds.  Another short wait for the salad.  The macaroni is dry (and not warm enough).  I had forgotten that both Hayley and Dalene are not eating carbs, the salad is not very substantial (it was only supposed to be a garnish) but there is plenty of bread - even a crusty rye variety (but that does not help their cause either).  Main course done!  

My mom has done the honours with her apple tart.  Another big dish that does not fit into the defunct (I could spell it a different way) oven. Cut up the pie and warmed it in the microwave (another 3 dishes).  Not quite the same to nuke a delicious crispy apple crumble.  Cream to whip.  I am now tired and flushed and lazy so decide to use the processor to whip the cream because the international two pronged adaptor for my hand beater is visiting Borneo.  Lucky adaptor.  I wish I was there too.

I have done this before (not Borneo, the cream in the processor story).  It can work but tonight it does not (what was I thinking??). The cream turns to butter and water.  My mother looks on in horror at the waste of her litre of cream.  Not to worry, we have ice cream.  "Kelly, did you guys bring the ice cream?"   Oops.  They (wife and 2 daughters) blame Tom who arrived punctually at 6.  We had to make do with a scraping of freshly whipped butter on each helping.

Hayley and Dalene looking a tad gaunt in the face (but they had nice berry coloured lips from the wine and were not complaining).  The apple crumble was also not on their diet.  They could have had the cream (which looked awful) or the ice cream (bad boy Tom) but not the flour in the crumble (wheat free next time please Nanna).

Back to the table for some lively discussion (and thankfully some more wine).  What would we do without wine?  Everyone seemed happy and fine but Caroline is still eating bread like I have never seen before. Thank goodness for bread (and wine). 

I had to smile when I eventually got into bed and kissed Michael goodnight.  He was already sleeping.  "Thank you.  That was a lovely meal and evening"  Dreaming?

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