It really feels like an obscene amount of time to go without baking at some points during my stay here. It certainly often takes being away to make you realise what the things you really miss are. Although I always knew I would miss baking. Luckily however I have a friend… who has a kitchen… and who had an occasion. 🙂
It’s funny how quickly little traditions form. Since before Christmas I started having an aperitif or afternoon tea with a really friendly teacher from the school, and sometimes her husband when he gets back from work, on a Friday. It has become a great way of improving my French, and helping them keep up their (really good!) English skills. As it was her husband’s birthday last week, Cathy wanted to make a special and ambitious “English” themed meal. We both love themes, so it was a fun task!
We planned carefully what to make the week before, and we settled on the fantastic idea of savoury scones as a starter. Yes, that’s scones. Not sconns.
Cheese, olive & onion scones [recipe
]. Amazing. I cannot recommend them enough. We did a Delia of course, since it was an English thing to do! But since we had no scone cutters we made little moon-shaped versions – they’re the perfect size to pick up and munch on!
Though we deliberated on the starter, the main seemed to have no competition: Shepherd’s Pie. Here you can see it just before it went into the oven, along with some Tyrrell’s crisps – which always make me laugh when I see them here, I don’t know why! Foreign people think they are amazing. And rightly so. In our pie we put lots of root vegetables – carrots, parsnip, swede (with the mash), a bit of celery too because I love it in this recipe. And the look on her husband’s face when he found out what terrifying vegetables we were feeding him was priceless.
Interestingly, they don’t eat swede in France usually. It’s name is rutabaga. And according to Cathy, it was eaten in enormous quantities during the war, when for some reason it was all that was available – or all that would grow – and people became sick of the sight of it, and it phased out of their diets. There you go, a little unknown snippet of history for you!
And for pudding…. well. It has to be Sticky Toffee Pudding doesn’t it? What else. Even my brother, the notoriously ‘not-a-pudding-person’ loves this. And my boyfriend complains it doesn’t taste the same when it’s not me making it (sweet!). And even I can take an extra slice, beyond what I really want to eat, because it’s so good. Delia, you did it again.
What would you choose for an ‘English-themed’ dinner party? We were slightly limited by the ingredients we could get hold of, but it was a fun challenge!