“five star menu”

mm came over for lunch today, and I’d planned a full three-course menu cos we hadn’t had home-cooked food for a long time and I really wanted to cook. It’s been a theme lately.

Made the starter yesterday. Roasted carrot & tomato soup. 4 large carrots, 3 tomatoes, 3 cloves garlic, 3 finely chopped shallots, Italian seasoning, a little olive oil all browned in a medium oven for 45 minutes. Then transfer the whole lot into a pan, deglaze the roasting tin with water, add turkey stock from the freezer and simmer for an hour. Left the soup to stand overnight, with me in the bedroom cos I had the aircon on. Then blitz, add milk, season and keep warm. s

For mains I marinaded some lamb chops overnight in olive oil, pepper, mint and Worcestershire sauce. Did not salt until I’d grilled one side and was about to turn it over. Nigel Slater wrote that if you salted a chop before grilling the juices flow out and you end up with a dry chop; salting it after grilling means the salt stays outside the meat and does nothing. And he’s right, not much juice came out even though I rested them for about 5 minutes.

I served the lamb with potato chunks and roasted red peppers. I semi-peeled and diced 2 potatoes, par-boiled then roasted with olive oil. The par-boiling fluffs the pieces so they get really crunchy. The red pepper I sliced into 8 long strips then put them over the gas hob (care: naked flame) skin side down until the skin is blackened. Peeled the charred bits off and they tasted smoked and very fine.

I think mm was impressed with the presentation. And she liked the food too, she called it a five star menu, asked for more soup, but ended up finishing the potatoes.


For dessert I tried to make chocolate fondant pudding but I overcooked it, the chocolate inside sank to the bottom and I basically ended up with a nice chocolate sponge pudding instead of anything fancy. Didn’t taste too bad but it wasn’t what I intended. This made 4 puddings — melted 2oz each of butter and chocolate. Beat 2 eggs and 2.5oz sugar until light and tripled in volume. Add the melted chocolate and 1oz flour. Pour into buttered moulds and bake ad 180°C for 10 minutes. I wanted to serve with chocolate sauce but I didn’t have any cream to make it.

All in all, a satisfying lunch. I’m still full.