Throughout the year TB and I meet with a group of friends for Dinner Night. The meal is held at each of the group???s houses in turn and the hosting family sets the theme. This weekend it was our turn to host and our theme was fruit and vegetables.As the size of the group is now somewhat larger with children growing up and joining their parents at the table the set-up for the event can be a bit of a challenge for a suburban lounge-room. As it was we had to stick 3 tables together to fit everyone one in. I also decided to do some floral decoration and attempted to channel my late Aunty D, who was a florist ??? I think there might have been some static on the line. However, I did manage to get some theme material into the centrepiece by using asparagus and carrot fronds as the greenery in the arrangement. The cat, who is not fond of large gatherings, decided that she???d give the table setting the once over, before she retreated to hide under the bed for the evening. On Dinner Night the number of dishes in each course changes depending on who does what. This time we only had two desserts, which for our group was some sort of record. We generally have a break between mains and dessert, taking a walk around the neighbourhood to aid our digestion. The menu was: Smoked trout and grapefruit salad with a mango and avocado parfait
Butternut pumpkin and orange soup
Orange scented lamb shanks with corn infused mash
Sun-dried tomato and aubergine quiche
Fennel, pumpkin and eggplant tagine with chickpeas
Two Ice Creams ??? Beetroot and Blackberry in a honey snap cone
Raspberry sponge pudding The prize for the best presentation went to Mr F???s salad. The mango and avocado parfait was really creamy and we were all impressed by someone who would take the time to stuff a cherry tomato. It was a lay down misere that TB got the guernsey for the most unusual dish with his beetroot ice cream. You can blame Gil from the team at River Cottage for that idea. On the night everyone, including the younger members of the team rose to the beetroot ice cream challenge and only one person faltered. Quite a good result. I must say that having tried the ice cream as it came out of the machine the day before I was not convinced it was a good idea. On the night, and having had even that small amount of extra time in the freezer the sharp beetroot flavour had mellowed and was really enjoyable. The rainy evening made eating the main course dishes a real pleasure. It was a reminder though that our lovely autumn weather will not be with us for long.