Let’s get it out of the way. I am a bowl slut, I just leave them all over the place. It’s my mother’s fault. She instilled in me the discipline of never arriving empty handed when invited to someone’s home. So, at every invitation, I ask “What shall I bring”. No matter how gracious the prospective hostess’s “Just yourself, Dear”; I still bring along a bowl of something.
And then I proceed to drink all their liquor and leave my bowl behind; never to see it again. Bowls, it seems, are like borrowed books; people grow fond of them and are reluctant to return them. I’ve probably lost upwards of 2 000 bowls in my life.
So, over the years, I have devised a cunning plan to hang onto my bowls: I lied to people and told them I suffer from a fear of going out and can only entertain at home. My strategy has worked and – as a result – I have a fairly active kitchen life.
Anyhow, I’ve settled into a formula for dinner parties: a showy-offy starter, a slow-cooked main course that I can get going the day before, and a take-it-or-leave-it dessert buffet that can survive into the new week’s lunch boxes if nobody is up for pudding.
Today I am hosting a recently married couple for lunch; they’re vegetarian and I’ve got everything ready ahead of time. Basil pesto to toss on some steamed asparagus and – just in time for my friend Tandy’s weekly food challenge – a savoury tart of brinjals and cheddar in phyllo, to go with my sweet potato chowder.
Et viola! I think a fruit platter will be sufficient for afters?