Don’t let this photo fool you. Spring hasn't arrived yet. These daffs were probably grown in a greenhouse. They came in a pretty pot – a present from my cousin I. and her husband W. who came over for a late ‘New Year’s’ lunch on Sunday.
They also brought a splendid bottle of Portuguese ‘Extra Virgin’ olive oil (for me) and large surprise basket for my mother. Beside a large variety of fruit, the basket contained some Belgian specialties, like ‘Sirop de Liège’, Meli gingerbread, Lotus ‘speculoos’ paste, etc.
I had spent the best part of Saturday afternoon preparing this special lunch party. And when my guests arrived on Sunday at about a quarter past twelve, I had everything under control … and little or no stress.
Aperitif was a bottle of excellent Vrancken Demoiselle Champagne, with three home-made appetizers: a classic mini-quiche, a trendy bamboo skewer with a tiny ball of mozzarella cheese and cherry tomato and … (if I am to believe my guests) an excellent Rimini (onion, tomato and red pepper) soup in a ‘verrine’. I served the lot on a small plate with a doily… Hyacinth Bucket would have been proud of me!
Starter was a Crottin Chavignol goat’s cheese with a honey and thyme topping, slightly grilled. The main course were baby cockerels in a tarragon and white wine sauce, potatoes and Belgian endives (witlof). Not unlike my New Year’s menu from little over a month ago.
Dessert were individual ‘bavarois’ cakes from our local ‘patisserie’. The wine was … of course, my favourite ‘Saumur Champigny’. I think the lunch was a great success and everybody went home ‘in ecstasy’ … except me … who was left with a kitchen that looked like the battlefield of Waterloo … after Napoleon had surrendered.
Luckily I have a very diligent dishwasher. It took three ‘machines’ and some careful hand washing of my crystal glasses to get my kitchen into its usual ‘shape’. But the memory of a great lunch largely made up for the chore.