Monday, 21 April 2008

Supper # 6 - Chichester

It drizzled with rain all day on Saturday. Fanny and I went to pick Frieda up from her sleepover and she and her friends poured themselves into the back of the car, variously chatting about teenage stuff. They seem so much younger than I remember feeling when I was sixteen. You think you have all the answers! I think Frieda is a lot less reckless than I was though. I recall many a night spent knocking back Cadbury’s Liqueur, followed by Scrumpy, followed by Malibu and pineapple, followed by unmentionable carnage. Frieda sticks sensibly to Pimms.

We got back to the cottage by the sea and dragged damp logs out of the garden to try and dry so we might make a fire and get a fug up in the chilliness. Boy was it cold. My blood must have thinned living in London and I threw on every warm item I’d packed. Frieda suggested hot chocolate – great. Then the word ‘soy milk’ got banded around and a look of horror took over my face. I declined politely, but when these steaming cups of dark delight paraded out from the kitchen I couldn’t resist a taste: far out – it was perfectly palatable and had I not known about the S-word I’m sure I’d never have guessed.

The hot chocolate triggered the need for more chocolate. We made éclairs. Real live proper éclairs. When the yellow little fingers of warmth and joy emerged from the oven we dunked them into melted chocolate and our eyes rolled back. Mustn’t eat them all! We cried and placed them in a tin for later.

Later was a take-it-to-them supper at Fanny’s friends Chris and Elizabet. We left the world of open fires and rickety old lanes and surged through the driving drizzle to a whole new scenario: leafy, suburban Chichester – and a great big hub of a family.

WHO CAME: Fanny, Frieda, Bea, me, C&E + two daughters - Steph (new mum) and Camille (studying for A-levels). I really adore this family. There is a harmoniousness about them that is kind of unusual. I almost assumed that Chris was a recent addition to the family because of how upbeat and unencumbered he seemed. Isn't that odd? That such a thing should seem unusual? The daughters are beautiful, easy-going girls who carry themselves in the same serene way as their mother.

WHAT WE ATE: The plan was that Fanny would make paella, I would make chocolate soufflés and that we would put the finishing touches to the éclairs as we went along. What transpired was a really great, lemony paella, groaning with plump prawns and bulbous mussels and then a total choc-load of dessert. No one really drank (baby/exams/driving/too young) but Chris, Fanny and I laid in to some nice chilled shez and then a bottle of burgundy.

DINNER TABLE TOPICS: Bananas, mainly. Chris is a major fruit supplier to Sainsbury and I happen to be on the look-out for 2000 of the blighters. I've been asked by Le SportSac to supply them with enough frozen choc-dipped nanas to get the message across to Pitchfork festi-goers that they're doing a collaboration with Stella McCartney. Chris fairly rose to the challenge and started punching numbers and weighing fruit....and then came out with the fascinating fact that bananas are a herb. !. Imagine that. Plus, there's been this gossip knocking around other dinner tables that marrow is just an overgrown zucchini which I just can't accept. And don't even get me started on what I've been hearing about pineapples...

THE PUD: Hot chocolate souffles. Frieda got fully involved and it was great having such a proactive sous chef. There's always such a hullabaloo about souffles - this preciousness and reverence - which I think doesn't help. It puts pressure on the pud to perform and inevitably it falls short. These ones did anyway. Next time I'm taking them out of the oven two mins earlier. However, you could have heard a pin drop whilst everyone was digging in...real, serious, almost eerie quiet.

MY BED FOR THE NIGHT: Chez Peppercorns with two hot waterbottles!!


Anonymous said...

see what did i say, the old soya milk ain't that bad! i have a good recipe for dairy free choco moose, its lush! you would never know! Its made with chocolate, silken tofu and bananas (the unsuspected herb!) its actually so nice!
Us lot from chichester are missing you greatly! lots of love frieda xx

Anonymous said...

OMG gorgeousness!!