What in the world have I possibly done to deserve such fabulous friends, I wonder?
I am still basking in the heartwarming glow of my birthday party, which Maxence and I held in our apartment on Saturday night. Old friends and new friends, all smiles and kind words, whom it was my particular pleasure to see making each other's acquaintance, mingling and engaging in happy conversation : I could not have hoped for a better alchemy.
Food and drink were also much valued guests, of course, as most of my friends share that same passion. Feeding 36 people is no small feat, but this is exactly the kind of thing I love doing every once in a while, and I can't tell you how much fun I had, dreaming up, shopping for, and preparing the following menu, the recipes for which I'll share over the next few entries :
Main dishes :
- Velouté froid de courgette au parmesan (parmesan & zucchini chilled soup)
- Clafoutis au bacon et au cantal (bacon and cantal clafoutis)
- Broccoli cornmeal upside-down cake
- Terrine de viande à la ricotta (ricotta meat terrine)
Cheese platter :
- a Selles-sur-Cher (goat cheese), a Munster and a piece of Gorgonzola,
- plain baguettes and multi-grain baguettes, from our corner boulangerie.
- Compote de rhubarbe aux biscuits roses de Reims (rhubarb compote with pink Champagne biscuits)
- Tarte au fromage frais, miel et écorces d'orange confites (honey cheese tart with candied orange peel)
- Gâteau au chocolat aérien, glacé ganache (chocolate cake with ganache glaze).
In addition to the dishes I prepared, we also enjoyed a fresh and tasty Chinese salad made by my neighbor-friend Stéphan, as well as his heavenly eggplant caviar, a specialty of his I had especially requested. Sabrina made a batch of adorable and delicious mini-carrot cakes, while Marie-Laure and Ludo brought their signature fruit salad, which is always a wonderful complement to chocolate cake.
We also enjoyed the company of Nicolas Vagnon, the chef at La Table de Lucullus, whom I'm now happy to count as a friend. As luck would have it, he was closing up the restaurant for a month that night, and he arrived laden with amazing goodies from the restaurant : a large piece of raw tuna that he had prepared like ham, rubbing it with smoked spices ; a few bottles of excellent champagne by a producer named Moutard ; a container full of raw sardines ; a box of amandes de mer which he had prepared in an aniseed infusion ; a delicious St Marcellin ; four plates of his signature super-dark chocolate dessert ; a container of ginger ice-cream -- such generosity left us quite speechless. Some of these we served at the party, and the rest constituted a luxurious picnic that we shared with our neighbors the next day.
As for the gifts, well, the expression spoiled rotten certainly springs to mind : flowers, cookbooks and books, dishes, an assortments of spices, a nutmeg grinder, a hard-to-find cooking magazine, homemade onion and sundried tomato jam, baskets of treats from Italy, Germany and America, a cute top, earrings and a necklace, a basket of mandarine-scented pampering products, a beautiful, small painting, and a stuffed Totoro!
And now, for the recipes...
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