Festive Fun

Several weeks ago, channelling my self-elected role of Chief Planner, I decided it might be nice to organise a festive meal for a group of friends in a central(ish) London pub. I created an online poll thinking the total number who would be keen to join might make it into the twenties if we were lucky…..and here we are, on the day itself with forty people confirmed and paid up for a three course meal in our own private dining room in Primrose Hill.

The planning process has not been without its hitches – the pub calling to say they had messed up and the festive menu would not actually be available this early being the main one (along with other minor irritations such as people dropping out, failing to read the instructions and paying the wrong amount of money into my account). I have also made things unnecessarily complicated for myself by deciding to purchase decorations and gifts for all the guests, but I hope they will add to the ambience and make it a fun afternoon.

In truth I’m not sure I’ll have the energy to do something this ambitious again, so I intend to get the most out of today and enjoy the fruits of my labour. Happy early Christmas to one and all-Ho Ho Ho.


Mother’s Day, mighty roasts and Malbec

The surprise Mother’s Day visit didn’t get off to the best of starts when I arrived home from the supermarket to find half of the dessert ingredients contained an ingredient Mum’s allergic to. Fortunately I cottoned onto this in time to avoid Mother’s Day being memorable for all the wrong reasons, and managed to claw victory from the jaws of defeat by pulling off a pretty decent two course meal (which, since you’re asking comprised pancetta-wrapped tilapia fillets with new potatoes, sugar snap peas and a lemon and caper sauce, followed by baked peaches stuffed with a mixture of amaretti biscuits, brown sugar, lemon zest, butter, almonds and pine nuts – the latter two ingredients being removed in Mum’s portion in order to avert severe anaphylactic shock.

With Mother’s Day celebrations ticked off the list I trekked from Weybridge to East Dulwich (via two trains and one rail replacement bus service) to meet friends for lunch at the Bishop, a delightful public house on Lordship Lane which was just what the doctor ordered for an afternoon of catching up, scoffing, quaffing and watching a spot of rugby. The staff are friendly and attentive – in particular Chris, the charismatic Manager for whom no request is too much trouble – and the food is quite simply divine. After a series of underwhelming Sunday roasts in similarly underwhelming pubs I felt I’d hit the jackpot today, with a gorgeous cut of prime beef served alongside a mound of fresh vegetables, crisp roast potatoes, a giant Yorkshire pudding and an individual gravy boat and portion of horseradish sauce (being a horseradish addict this last detail particularly delighted me). The Manager’s recommendation of a glass of Malbec was the perfect accompaniment, and a few bottles and several desserts (top tip: The chocolate pot is to DIE for, and I don’t say that lightly) later we rolled out the door feeling sated and content.

And so to the weeks ahead; ten more working days in my current job before a trip to New York and the start of a new job and part time freelance career. After two years of living miles apart my boyfriend has just moved to London for four months which couldn’t be more perfectly timed. Things are changing and it’s about time too. In the words of Orange, the future’s bright.