10 June 2007

Dinner for 6.

As mentioned earlier, G and I had our friends, P & M over for a visit this weekend.

On Friday night, we had dinner at the Armenian Kitchen, which I did not take photos of because there have been photos of them here previously. So there's that. Not exciting, but quite tasty. We had shawarma and all the fixings. Really such a nice dinner.... We brought baklava home for dinner, but I didn't have any more room.

Anyway, so last night, we decided to make something for our friends from out of town, and to invite our friends from upstairs for dinner. We love to cook for people and do it so rarely that we were really keen to settle on a nice dinner plan. And when looking for a nice dinner, at the moment, I am looking no further than Jamie's Italy, by Jamie Oliver.

I knew we were going to the St. Lawrence Market, so I decided to make the Chicken Cacciatore. G felt like keeping the J. Oliver theme alive, and made a starter of her infamous (and his delish) potato and scarmoza ravioli with marjoram butter. This recipe is G's take on the meal that we had Fifteen last year. It works, it's so delicious. I will ask her to put it to paper so I can share it... Then our guest, P, decided to get in on the action, and offered to make a pear and walnut salad with rocket and watercress. We have a crazily small kitchen, but somehow, we made it work!

The salad was amazing... I am not a huge fan of fruit in food, but the pear and watercress was so refreshing, especially with the shaved parm and toasted walnuts.

It was so terrific, and P made each plate look absolutely lovely!

From there, we moved into G's ravioli. It's really terrific. We had some great fresh potatoes from our CSA box and we bought a little bob of scarmoza at the market, the flavours are dead simple, and since G uses wonton wrappers, it's even more of a snap. But it looks impressive, and tastes divine.

From there, we moved onto my Pollo ala Cacciatore, or whatever it's called. I made it with Donna Hay's recipe for polenta (from New Food Fast), and we used the last of our CSA asparagus. I took a picture of one of the plates...

Whoa. It was so lovely. the chicken had olives, anchovies, tomatoes and chianti in it, and cooked slowly at 350 for about an hour and a half. The sauce was so rich and lovely. The chicken fell off the bone, which is the only way I can stand to eat meat on the bone! It really had all the best parts of a good dinner. We had lots of wine and good conversation (oddly, a conversation about food miles v. organic v. processed food) and it was a really nice night.

We finished with a pistachio bundt cake (that I failed to take a picture of, I am sorry M!!!), that M purchased at the St. Lawrence Market. He also bought two big containers of strawberries, and we had a lovely light dessert after the very rich chicken dinner.

We cracked open a wine that G and I bought in the Loire Valley in France last year, from the Paul Buisse winery in Montrichard. It was really lovely, and took us back to the day that we travelled there, went to the winery for a visit, and met Mr. Paul Buisse and toured the caves and drank his favourite wines. It was really a brilliant outing, and getting the tour of the caves and listening to Paul Buisse talk about his family's history of wine making made it such a special experience. The Loire Valley is full of wineries, and really, this was one of the highlights of our trip. Sharing it with friends, as precious as this sounds, was really such a great way to enjoy it.

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