shortlist no. 25 / may 13, 2011
I’m trying to get back on track with the shortlists, but life (or is it my belly?) is getting in the way. I’m just going to grit my teeth and not tell you about the roast pheasants and Zuni’s bread salad we had at Easter. Or the coconut cake with lemon curd. Or the dozens of other dinner parties we’ve had since I last posted a shortlist. We are officially moving on, starting anew, revamping my motivation for shortlisting. It’s not that the shortlisting has stopped – there’s proof of that all over the kitchen counters. It’s just that my brain is so full of nonsense like the deviation rule, the principle in Wilkinson v Downton, and where in god’s name we will put the baby’s clothes (and crib, and stroller, and toys…) that I usually forget to keep and photograph my lists, and, when I do, I then forget to write about them.
In any case, I’m getting back in the swing of things so here’s a list from our last dinner party. It was a joint effort, with Francesco making the risotto. Unfortunately, and despite our best intentions, it wasn’t much of a meal. The menu looks great, doesn’t it? But we made the mistake of purchasing the crab cakes at the shmancy David Jones food court rather than making them ourselves. To say they were tough would be an understatement: most of our guests attempted to cut into them, only to give up. So my starter was a bust. Next came Francesco’s world famous risotto which, due to his lack of planning and lack of stock, turned out rather dry and unremarkable. The artichokes remained totally uncooked and inedible, so I was picking out the tiny little pieces until the minute the guests arrived. To his credit, everyone (including me) had seconds, but he’s convinced it was a flop and everyone was too hungry to notice. The rest of the meal was good – really good even – but our failures overshadowed our successes.
One good thing to come out of the meal was my re-falling in love with that apple tart cake I made awhile back. It was even better than I’d remembered and I would encourage all of you to stop procrastinating on the computer, set aside the next hour or two and turn on your oven. Also? Crema di parmigiano. Remember that little beauty we poured on to top of passatelli way back in November? It’s baaaack. Well, it will be when I find the time to tell you about the eggplant stack of beauty. Which will be just as soon as I forget about Wilkinson v Downton, the deviation rule, and the as yet non-existent baby clothes.
vegetarian early winter (late autumn?) dinner party for 6
fresh bread with labne and za’atar
smoked salmon and sour cream on fish cakes served on a bed of dressed baby spinach
Francesco’s risotto with saffron and artichokes
eggplant and mozzarella stacks with garlic tomato sauce and crema di parmigiano
apple tart cake and vanilla ice cream