One of my uncles used to tell a story about his many thwarted attempts to visit New Zealand. He always ended the story with an expression of exquisite agony, saying “and, oh, the fish and chips!”
Claude’s roasted potatoes last Sunday made me think of my uncle’s story. He would have approved. The potatoes were red creamers, cut in slim wedges and roasted in duck fat, with sprinklings of fresh herbs, pepper and fleur de sel. Outstanding – worth travelling for, and worth licking the plate for — which I did… after all, we are very close friends, so much so that Claude felt comfortable using paper napkins.
are a highlight of summer for me. Great friends, great food, summer dresses and Claude & Eric’s sunny verandah. A beautiful, lazy (at least, Claude lets us feel lazy) tradition of gathering around 4:30pm and whiling away an evening. To start, Linda and I sit at the kitchen island to watch Claude prepare the cocktail of the day
. Eventually we sit down to dinner outside. Yesterday’s tapas-style feast started with spinach and asiago-stuffed giant mushroom caps. They were moist and flavourful, with just enough cream
cheese to add richness, and I think Claude used panko for a little texture. Delicious… Linda and I had thirds. Conversation is always easy, and in our new pre-Masterchef world, we also enjoy watching Eric act as photographer between courses. After the amazing potato dish, we had a crab and yogurt extravaganza, and then Claude served a fennel-almond soup with scallops, pickled apple and watercress. Claude rarely repeats dishes, but I hope this one stays in the roster. The scallops had a beautiful, delicate flavour, and the pickled apples were unexpectedly delicious.
Dessert was five scoops of homemade ice cream. I know Eric isn’t a fan of more stuff in the house, but the Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment is truly worth the shelf space. My favourites were the grapefruit sorbet (bursting with grape
fruit, and not too sweet), the chocolate (velvety, slightly powdery, cocoa), and the cookies and cream (everything you think it should be). I vote for more vanilla bean in the vanilla, and then it will be a favourite too.
Finally, Scrabble. A thoroughly enjoyable game, even if Claude got two bingos and slaughtered us. I guess he deserved it!