Friends for lunch today!
Seemed like an opportunity to diversify from the roast dinner. High hopes of a warm day and the desire not to spend time in the kitchen instead of chatting to everyone led to a few ‘prepare in advance dishes’:
Beans n’ Bacon
Paprika pulled chicken, gems and croutons
Rose Harissa chick peas, roasted peppers and tomato salad.
Salmon fillet, rocket, watercress with dill.
A platter of Rocket’s amazing roast potatoes
Some great focaccia from the Kennington farmer’s market
We had originally asked Canary and Hugger to come along with their delightful kids, but I seem incapable of stopping myself from trying to pack as many people in as possible so Karl-Heinz and the Minx were added to the list and then joined by Baguette and Kisser, who opted not to bring their delightful kids meaning that we had 10 for lunch. It only has me regretting the absence of Awkward and City who, due to living in Manchester and this being more of an impromptu affair, weren’t with us to complete that ‘set’ of stalwart friends.
I’ve accepted the challenge to see how many people I can pack in for a seated lunch both here and in France, I’m not sure if Rocket is resigned to it now, but we just seem to end up catering for numbers. In France I think the record for a seated dinner inside the house, was 50 people for the ‘special’ birthday of our friend Skipper. Outdoors we regularly host 20, and a part of me is desperate for one of my friends (any one of the single ones, I’m not proud) to have a wedding there and we could have a garden party for hundreds of guests….I can dream.
Back to the tale, a friend gave us some Denhay bacon, which ended up shaping the menu.
Broad Bean, Pea, and Denhay Bacon & Pecorino Salad
Depending on whether you are serving as a main or one of a few sides will determine how many this will serve. It makes a nice tureen full…
4 cups broad beans (net i.e. after podding etc) lightly blanched and popped from their outer jackets.
1 cup garden peas
200 grams pecorino or any hard cheese you fancy, crumbled into small pieces
Zest and juice of 1 whole un-waxed lemon
1 tsp dried mint
4/5 slices of good back bacon, cut into battens and fried until crisp
A cup of fresh mint leaves picked from the stalks and roughly chopped (reserve a few whole for garnish).
A few good glugs of olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Method – put all the ingredients except the fresh mint into a large mixing bowl.
Gently turn over with a spoon making sure all the ingredients are coated with the olive oil lemon juice and seasoning.
Finally mix the fresh mint through, tip into your serving dish and garnish with mint leaves.
Recipes for the rest of this menu to follow soon…