A feast for friends

July 25, 2010

It’s reached that point in my plans for leaving London where I’ve had to start saying goodbye to friends. Although I’m having a big party next week, it’s inevitable that, thanks to the summer holidays, some people won’t be able to come.

Last week, I invited my friends Lea and Nicky over for dinner, because they decided that going to Camp Bestival was more important than waving off their dear friend who’s going to a far and distant land and may never return… Okay, I’ll drop the drama queen act. It’s fine that they’re going away for my last weekend in London, really, it is.

Anyway, back to the point of all this – the food. I decided to cook my favourite saffron poached chicken for the meat-eaters, some grilled whiting sprinkled with pul biber for the pescatarians, plus a Moroccan vegetable stew (which included baby turnips, courgettes, carrots, red onions, chickpeas, turmeric, cumin, and lots of garlic) and couscous for all of us to eat.

This is a dish my mum made regularly when I was a child, and I would always eat far far too much of it. What is it about couscous that allows you to stuff your stomach so full of it? Well, this meal was no exception, and I was left groaning by the end of the evening.

For pudding, I made Dan Lepard’s chocolate honey meringues, which was in last week’s Guardian magazine. In his instructions, Dan said not to make one big one as it would collapse. However, I wanted to slather it with mascarpone and fresh figs, in the manner of a Pavlova, so decided to ignore Mr Lepard and make it whole.

The result was a rather soft, incredibly chewy, almost brownie-like meringue, which, in my humble opinion, was delicious. And the creamy, fruity topping made it extra special.

All in all, it was a pretty indulgent evening, and hopefully I have left Lea and Nicky with some happy foodie memories of me until we see each other again.

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8 Responses to “A feast for friends”

  1. Wendy Says:

    I soooo approve of the pavlova! Not long now then till you set off – bon voyage! Really looking forwards to hearing about your new life! Good luck and have a safe journey!

  2. hopeeternal Says:

    What a wonderful sounding menu – I do hope your guests were as appreciative as they should have been. Hope your move goes smoothly and that you will write lots about the food in Istanbul!
    h/e
    ‘Meanderings through my Cookbook’
    http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

  3. jasnieres Says:

    Was thinking already that a ‘feast for friends’ might be on the cards when you come over for your farewell visit – next time maybe you will be able to bring Suleyman.
    Looking forward to being pampered when you come.

  4. Choclette Says:

    Chocolate pavlova would have kept me more than happy, especially with figs – yum. Have heard varying reports about Dan’s recipe – “crack your teeth” type meringues was one, so sounds like you might have done the right thing by making one big one.

    One week left at work sounds fab. Enjoy your trips to France and Brighton and Good Luck for the big one.


  5. Thanks, everyone, for all your good wishes. I’m just focusing on getting through to Friday, when I will be indulging in a few cocktails with all my friends. But Mum, I’m expecting you to pamper me in France this time – I think I’m going to need it.


  6. Ooooh that looks wonderful! I’m also looking forward to hearing all the tales from Istanbul 😀

  7. helen Says:

    looks fantastic and all lovely colours – what an amazing pud! looking forward to hearing about your Istanbul kitchen adventures …

  8. MaryMoh Says:

    All the food looks very delicious….mmmm. Hope you have a wonderful time in a new place.


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