If you’re like me, you look at every opportunity to cook for other people as an opportunity to create, experiment and just generally flex your culinary muscles. Not necessarily to show off, although I will admit to the odd twinge of pride when things work out how I hoped, but just because the thrill of creating – and then devouring – something new is almost as exciting as getting to share it with people you love. Knowing me as he does, my husband usually prefaces announcements of expected guests with, ‘Just keep it casual. Make something simple. Don’t go overboard.’. But sometimes keeping it simple is exactly what you need to do to create a masterpiece.
The weather has taken a turn for the chilly here in sunny California, instead of a balmy 85-95ºF (30-35ºC), we’ve had a rather breezy 65-75ºF (18-24ºC). I can hear the groans already. No, I haven’t already become accustomed to warm, pleasant weather in which showing your toes and your knees is acceptable. No, I haven’t forgotten that for 50 weeks of the year in England you have to leave the house with an umbrella, winter coat and wellies. I am simply stating that the tropical weather we experienced for the past week or so has shifted to a much more spring-like mix of breezy and cloudy. This means that a different type of spring cuisine comes onto the menu, the spring soup!
A few weeks ago Michel Roux Jr made îles flottantes on his BBC show, ‘Food & Drink’. It looked so easy and so impressive that I decided to make it when the next opportunity arose.
Some of our close friends had family visiting from Poland last week and, as ever, I looked at that as the opportunity for a dinner party. Dinner parties seem to have this stigma, this pretentious air about them which puts people off. In our house they are simply an excuse to have good friends over, drink lots of wine and, of course, for me to get in the kitchen and cook up a three course meal.