Tapas at Home

January8

Little plates are our favourite way to dine.  When the holidays are over, we still want to entertain friends but we want to lighten it up for everybody concerned.  So this weekend, we hosted a dinner of small plates.  First off we invited, my eldest brother and his wife as she had just recognized a significant birthday and we wanted to extend the time of celebration.  When we had gotten together with them in the last year or so, we had been anticipating and then remembering, our time in Ireland, so we eliminated stew and soda bread as possible menu items.  We all love Mediterranean fare and so that seemed the right choice.  Then we found out that our Sicilian friends were back  in Canada and invited them too.  So here I was cooking tagliatelle for an expert.  I gave myself the jitters.

Treats of sausage, ham, salami and olives sat on the table while we assembled and poured out a beautiful Cab Sauvignon from Sicily and an equally lovely Argentinian Malbec.

We started with a sweet potato and lime soup with just a hint of cinnamon.

Sweet Potato Lime Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
 
Ingredients
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 1L chicken stock
  • 1 T freshly ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lime juice
Instructions
  1. Add sweet potatoes, stock and ginger to large pan.
  2. Bring to boil on medium-high heat.
  3. Turn heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until potatoes are very soft, about 20 minutes.
  4. Purée soup using immersion blender.
  5. Stir in coconut milk, lime juice.
  6. Adjust salt and pepper.
  7. I had a cinnamon citrus spice mix which I sprinkled on top.

 

We accompanied this with a rosemary flat bread.

Next up were rolls of eggplant.

And tagliatelle with browned butter and mizithra cheese.

The last dinner plate were white wine steamed mussels and even the guests who did not think that they were inclined towards mussels, quite loved them.

D had prepared a special treat for the birthday girl and dessert was banana cream pie (sorry no photo), Bernard Callebaut chocolates and an experiment with an Italian digestive-grappa.  I had found out earlier that day that grappa is a distilled product made from the seeds and skins of grapes.  Italians are very resourceful people and this was not surprising. The taste mind you, was a surprise.  High in tannin, it reminded me of what turpentine might taste like.  It must be an acquired taste, as the Sicilian quite enjoyed it, whereas D renamed it “crappa”.

The conversation was lively and the evening deemed a success, proving to me once again, that it is not so much the richness of the food but the richness of the friendships that makes for a successful dinner.

Kath’s quote: “At a dinner party one should eat wisely but not too well, and talk well but not too wisely.”-W. Somerset Maugham

Love-that is all.

 

 

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