Thursday, 12 June 2008

Supper # 27 - Sherbourne, Warwickshire

After Dudley and all the accompanying network of dreary suburbs and never-ending roundabouts I was excited to get back out to the country. Petra and Paddy called me back to their Warwickshire idyll, where riverbeds burst with watercress and skylarks soar. As soon as I got away from the M40 the sun extricated itself from the gloom and sharded down on us like a celestial floodlight.

It has been so nice on this trip to sometimes be able to descend on familiar faces and just hang. To do normal things like watch telly and do laundry and talk drivel. The fish man had called by earlier and Paddy had shrimp and Sea Bass waiting in the wings.

THE SET UP: Petra is about to burst - she's pregnant and charging around at a hundred miles an hour, project-managing the work on half the houses in the village. Paddy is relaxed in a fairly dynamic way. There are dogs everywhere and I'm watching their interplay with interest.

WHO CAME: Paddy, Petra and me.

WHAT WE ATE: Delicious Grimsby shrimp with cayenne mayo and lemon. If there is something more lip-smacking than a good prawn with a citrus kick I've forgotten what it is. Then great plates of baked Sea Bass with parsley sauce, asparagus and mash. A soothing supper, full of reassurance and calm. The rose wine was also rather reassuring.

DINNER TABLE TOPICS: Family relationships, the kids down the road and their penchant for shooting rabbits, P&P's eco business and all the intricacies of having a third partner, meeting Yves Saint Laurent last year and how ill he looked, all the different industries in all the towns of the Black Country.

THE PUD: I rustled up some chocolate Moelleux - we only had three ramekins so I made extra big ones. They burst over the edges and gave us a run for our money. I actually couldn't finish mine despite the fact that it's one of my favourite puds in the whole world. Oozing, warm chocolate escaping from a baked, cakey tomb....and cooled with double cream. P&P make a lot of happy noises.

MY BED FOR THE NIGHT: Paddy and I stay up late playing Backgammon. He's an absolute animal and almost succeeds in psyching me into losing, but as soon as I see what he's up to I creep up from being 4-0 down and whoop his Irish ass. Bed is really comfy and I go to sleep excited by the fact that I don't have to get up at any particular time...

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