Saturday, 5 July 2008

Before the Party

We've been here a year.

Tomorrow (Sunday) we are having a party to celebrate and today I'm in the kitchen, preparing the buffet:

- beef (to be roasted and served cold) from the butchers between the dog parlour and our second favourite bread shop. We discussed how much I needed and how many people were coming and how I would cook the meat. He sent me away while he cut and prepared the joint. It's probably too big, but I didn't have the courage to query it.

- thick, succulent salmon pieces from the fish counter at Leclerc that I will poach in a "court bouillon". When I asked for 3 kilos in my best French, the plump lady behind the counter looked startled. I think she was wondering whether this English woman knew what she was asking for. She disappeared into the back and returned with a new ice-packed box from which she carefully made her choice.

- tomatoes roasted in lashings of olive oil, garlic and basil. Great fat beef tomatoes that are a meal in themselves.

- twice cooked goats cheese soufflés (thanks Delia) that can be cooked the day before and then reheated.

- summer fruit terrine (Delia again!) strawberries, raspberries, red currants and cherries glistening in a wine jelly.

- two of Tod's best in the world cheesecakes are already in the fridge in the garage with the salad stuff that will be prepared first thing tomorrow.

Mid morning, I sat at the kitchen table, with a mug of tea and looked through the window past the grape vine with its bunches of green grapes that we are proudly watching grow, to the freshly cut lawn and the fields beyond and I remembered the me of a year ago, tired, stressed, busy unpacking box after box, wondering just what we had done.

And I sent a silent message to the me back then: "it's all going to be alright - very alright"

Delia Smith's Summer Collection

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