Saturday, 22 December 2007

In the Company Of Friends

What a wonderful start to the Christmas season! A great evening tonight with friends!!

A busy few days getting everything ready for tonight. We have invited various friends from the village around for an evening meal. Just need to work out how to fit 20 people sitting down to dinner in our ruin!

Ever one to minimise the actual work on the night, we have planned to get as much ready before hand as possible.

First job - clear out our 'back room'. Anyone who has been to our place will know it is the general dumping ground for all our junk. Until we came up with the idea that we could just about fit our terrace table there and seat lots of people - provided they know each other very well. It will be cosy!!

And it worked!!

We even managed to find some Christmas Crackers - they caused a stir because they are unknown down here even though they were originally invented in France.

Foodwise, our menu was as follows:

Canapés: lots and I won't bore you with details, but they were delicious!

Starter: oven-baked prawns with butter, garlic and chilli. Of course I accidentally added more chilli than normal but everyone said they were lovely!

Inter-course (!): salad with garlic croutons and lardons. Our girls were clearing up all the leftover croutons furiously!

Main: we decided to go 'anglais' and did a steak and kidney casserole. Two nights running we slow cooked the beef (5 kilos in total!) and finally added the kidney and mushrooms this morning. Then....had a brainwave! We put the pot on the top of the fire and left it there all day until the party - it gradually heated up over many hours and was great by 20:00!

Cheese: Yes, we went 'french' and had the cheese before the pudding. Decided to go 'international' and have gorgonzola, Bullet d'Avesnes and ...... a very special cheddar sent to us by my brother and his wife. Everyone was very impressed with the flavour! Thank-you Pat & Sue - the cheddar was superb!

Pudding: Josette kindly brought a home-made gateau that was lovely - how can she get her sponge so light?! It was gorgeous! I had poached some pears in red wine and spices to go with some créme fraiche - which went down well. We can use the left over liquor as mulled wine over the festive season as well!

(note the use again of my one and only HUGE pot - it comes in useful for bulk catering!)

Café: of course, but no one would try our English tea though!

We had a great time, and loved our presents that everyone bought us!! One of them was a clock with London, Bond Street written on the dial - they thought it was funny to have found this in France, and I told them that it was my favourite shopping place!! The girls of course were especially impressed with the large box of chocolates.......

Cocktails are popular as pre-dinner drinks here for the ladies, so Richard and I had a go at making some. With all the testing needed whilst Richard was mixing them ..... we were a bit tipsy when people started arriving!!

Cocktail 1: a haphazard mixture of white rum, dark rum, pineapple and orange juice, topped up with lemonade. A veritable 'punch'!

Cocktail 2: per two glasses - one shot of pernod, one of vodka, one of blackcurrant topped up with lemonade. My favourite!! We used to have this VERY MANY years ago in London and tried to recreate it. I think it worked.......hic!

Xena was so well behaved, if a bit bemused at so many people in her house, all telling her in some unintelligible (to her!) language, that she was lovely. She looked perfect - all that work with a brush, scissors and soap was worth it!!
A wonderful party, with great friends, and we all feel the holidays have truly started!
Merry Christmas to all!


Riet en Ab said...

Dear friends,
We (hic) got home safely (200 meters "en pente" sometimes is not easy), and we really thank you for a wonderful evening. We look forward to the coming days to enjoy your compny again!
Riet and Albert

Jacqui U said...

Glad you got home OK! And looking forward to seeing you tomorrow night!

We keep meeting at all these is hard down here in La Sesquière, isn't it?!

Lots of love