Living the Good Life…

My food blog & cookbook in progress

Les Menus

Disclaimer: This long entry is more of a way for me to keep track of combinations that work and those that don’t or didn’t. I had actually made it an ‘invisible’ or private/password protected post, but that seemed silly and secretive when there was nothing to hid, so I lifted that embargo, but please… feel free to skip and go directly to the pages on the 2nd column…

A shopping spree in Gourmet Egypt led to an abundance of fish and hence a few fish dinners among friends. Menus follow, with dinner guests and links to actual items (if available).

Dinner for 7 (at table) as a sort of lets welcome ourselves back to Cairo back in later August (pre-Eid). Salima and Hoath, Belle, Emmanuelle, Camillo and Mate were there. Peter’s familiar mug was missing (and missed by some but no matter, he’s been before and after). After an apperitif of what I fondly call Brazilian iced tea – Cacaxa mixed with a mint/orange peel/ginger and tea infusion – we wined and dined on the following:

Doi maach (fish in yogurt sauce – Bengali style as I fondly hope)

Spinach Daal

Vangi Bhaath (Eggplant rice)

Arbi sabzi

Green apple salad

Think that’s it. The range and mix of flavors worked well, although I’m wondering if I could have just served plain rice?  My thought was that both the yogurt sauce for the fish and the daal could complement the rice without either overpowering the other, and this way way I didn’t have to make a separate vege (since the arbi/colocasia qualifies as a starch). It was successful. Oh and there was the labna+ cream served with mangoes.

Barely had I gotten back than I took off again for Switzerland during the Eid break. And returned armed with plenty of goodies from Neuchatel. Sausages, Rillettes and wine and more wine, and oh yes the inevitable collection of chocolates. I got back on the 12th and was barely off the plane when I was invited for an impromptu dinner at Louise and Michel’s, which was so welcome. It hasn’t been quite 3 weeks yet, but I’ve not done badly in terms of issuing invites from my end.

Not counting dinners for 2, over the weekend had Louise and Michel, Kevin of US-Aid, Emmanuelle and Camillo and Peter. Dinner was in two rounds that evening. A first round of Cheese and charchuterie – wild boar sausage, taleggio, and a nice ripe Camembert (courtesy E&C) set off by nice Bordeaux reds and a white brought by Kevin. Some melon and baguettes served as vehicles for the cheese and sausage. Oh and I completely forgot the star of this round – the goose rillettes. Yum! Indian dinner followed:

Mango salad

Meen kolambu (fish in a tamarind sauce)

Avial-type vege medley

Pongal/khichidi

No formal dessert really, chocolates galore – Grand Marnier bomb + those covered in dates (L&M’s contribution). Some Grand Marnier to go with.  Then finished with a final cup of chai nicely scented with ginger and cardamom.

How was it that despite L&M cleaning and putting away dishes, I had a nearly full sink by Sunday morning? or not quite full but not empty either. For one I did make a big batch of vangi bhath as a way to ensure being able to carry lunch AND use up an excess of eggplants. Louise and I shared it on the Monday.

A small intimate mid-week (or in Belle’s case weekend end) girls night in for Belle, Mel (anie) and me. Another Gourmet Egypt spree in prep for Saturday already, brought home, among other things, two luscious sushi-grade tuna steaks.  And I had some peaches of indifferent quality. Inspiration struck and we had a meal in 3 courses. First Gazpacho/Sal Morejo, then seared, mostly raw tuna with a peach chutney – recipe forthcoming topped off by a pasta aglio e olio embellished my style with anchovies, dried chillies and walnuts.  The big pay-off was lunch for the next day.

Weekend was Zane and Adam’s first visit home with their parents Duncan and Hala (her first time too),  Peter (naturally) and Steve and Helen after a long time. Like the weekend previous, dinner was in two shifts – cheese, charcuterie and gazpacho followed by a northern Indian meal. Truffled salami and a truffled pecorino were the C&C items this time around. F0r actual dinner

Jungli Maas on a bed of greens

Rajma (Peter’s call)

Dill & Peas Pulao

Radish raita

Fresh mango chutney

Naan/Parathas (from Indian restaurants)

The mango and labneh dessert though planned never materialized, and we made do with chai, oh and I forgot Hala’s chocolate cake, which went nicely with and has fed me and Fawzeya a few breakfasts since.

Sunday was supposed to have been a working/shop  talk dinner for Drew, Kate and myself but she couldn’t make it, and his mother was in town, and then Salima called and brought a friend along as well so plans changes and voila another dinner on the way.

Gazpacho with some cheese

Quinoa with zucchini and carrots

Chicken Mole (another successful experiment)

Daal (Salima’s offering)

All this followed by cupcakes brought by Drew’s Mom. the evening ended relatively early which was good as school was on the next day..

And guess what it’s Wednesday again and folks are coming over …again. Charles, Tim, Peter and Melanie this time. The planned menu:

Doi Macch

Chane ki daal

Green beans with coconut (South Indian style)

Mango salad

PLAIN rice

Methinks that ought to be enough.  Choco-dates to follow. Will check in later and tell me how it went. School tomorrow so insh’allah for an early night.

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