We had a lovely lunch for about 60 friends and family yesterday as a memorial for Lucius's aunt, who died last month at a great age at her home in South Africa. The party was given by Lucius's cousin Bruce and his wife Menna, and the cooking was by their younger daughter Anna, who used to be a party designer (I think that's the right word) at the Admirable Crichton, and is now a freelance cook and party organiser.
We spent a merry morning preparing .... tidying, moving furniture, moving cars to make it easier for guests to park, cooking under instruction from Anna - and endlessly discussing how many potatoes and green beans would be required.
Here are my sons preparing smoked salmon which was sent down by courier from Uig Lodge on the west coast of Lewis in the Hebrides. It was, quite simply, the best smoked salmon I've ever tasted - smokey, and not a trace of the oil which often swamps even some of the better smoked salmon I've bought in the past.
We had a number of very delicious salads ... here's finely-sliced celeriac sitting in a bath of orange juice to stop it browning. Anna used orange juice because the salad had oranges in it - useful to know that it works just as well as lemon juice.
One of the most popular dishes was Jean's famous pink fish ... which will be the subject of a separate post later in the week.
I failed to take a photograph of the main dish, a South African lamb and potato stew, or of the green bean salad which we dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and a huge quantity of toasted almond slivers - a delicious combination. This is my favourite photograph of the day: Robbie Honey, the florist, ladling stew from the pot into a dish, using a saucepan as the ladle:
And here are Robbie's beautiful flowers gracing the dining room table, surrounded by a sea of grey-green leaves:
This is Anna's passionfruit tart ... fabulous, isn't it? Also very delicious ... and she rustled up the last one in moments between sorting out salads, chopping vegetables and cheerfully (& with great charm) telling us all what to do next.
Stealing fruit - "Everything is balanced and orderly; everything is running riot; everything is an English garden." A.S. Byatt on William Morris's Strawberry Thief design; ...
19 hours ago