Saturday was our third annual Valentines dinner party. Delayed for good reason- we were in Cape Town!! I made and delivered invitations last week to a lucky handful, just before we left town. (More on our getaway soon!)
The seven course menu with links to recipes where possible:
- Sundried tomato pesto with homemade sesame flatbread
- Proscuitto stuffed mushroom caps
- salad greens with roasted pears, candied pecans and gorgonzola biscuits
- fennel, shrimp, fish soup
- grapefruit sorbet
- filet with bernaise, mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus
- Snakes’ famous 15 layer lemon crepe cake
Everything turned out really well. It helped that we had just returned from South Africa days before toting a suitcase bulging with beef tenderloins, cremini mushrooms, asparagus and ruby red grapefruit. Preparation kept me busy for two days and then clean up another. Three solid days filled! This may sound like senseless masochistic misery to some but distractions like this are my sanity in Luanda where watching the sunlight pass through the living room generally occupies most of my afternoons.
Each year I like to make a small take home goody for the guests. Last year it was a little bag of homemade marshmallows. The year before that was coffee toffee. (Wow, that seems like several lifetimes ago!) This time, perhaps a little too ambitiously, I tackled homemade poptarts. I made a double batch, filling half with raspberry jam and others with nutella. I wrapped one of each flavor into a neat little package. They weren’t much to look at but sweet mercy, if I may say so, those babies were perfect with coffee the next morning. Our table was decorated with vintage doilies made by Snakes’ grandmother (correct me if I’m wrong on that one, V.) It was wonderful to expand the table to its full capacity and squeeze friends in all around. Times like these I count my blessings and I am happy. Times like these remind me that despite the frustration or loneliness that trips us up, we can still fashion a little smiling, laughing, toasting slice of normal. Times like these justify dragging so many dishes across the ocean.