We have had a great weekend.
The weather appears to have taken a cooler turn and although the rainfall is markedly increased the relief from the relentless heat is wonderful.
Its not just us humans who are appreciating it, the tomatoes are positively blooming. To be honest I was about to throw them overboard and chalk the whole thing up to experience when they suddenly put on an enormous spurt,throwing out new shoots, blossoms, and, wait for it, whole trusses of tiny tomatoes! As I was watering them this morning I quickly counted over 40 new young fruit! Wow! Mine are now definitely bigger than Bob's!!The one large fruit that we had split and turned red a week ago. We did eat it but it wasn't exceptional. I have much higher hopes for the new additions. At the very least I should be able to make a batch of green tomato chutney.
Marco managed to find quite a lot of the items that I requested from the city and yesterday we shared the bounty with some of our mates here on the Rio. We haven't entertained on the boat for some time. It's just been too hot to sit below and eat a meal and the space in the cockpit is limited. Yesterday however was perfect.
Seven of us gathered for drinks and chat and then repaired below to eat the most magnificent leg of lamb. I do enjoy cooking for friends and it is such a pleasure when everything comes together.
We began with fresh asparagus, simply steamed and served with cold butter and salt. With such good fresh ingredients I like to prepare something as simply as possible to enjoy the uniqueness of the flavour.
The lamb was prepared with garlic inserted under the skin, coated in wild borage honey and a rub of ground ginger, cracked black pepper and Mediterranean sea salt. A glass or two of Sauvignon Blanc in the bottom of the pan and set to roast slowly in the oven.
I roasted the potatoes in goose fat. This is the only sure way to get the potatoes that we buy here to really crisp up. The kids always bring me out cans of goose fat when they visit and I jealously guard my diminishing supplies. When they finally give out I use a mixture of olive and vegetable oil but can not get such a good result, although its acceptable(!)
We had julienne carrots, fresh green peas and beans with broccoli and a jar of Marks and Spencer's fresh mint sauce. All served with a thick brown gravy flavoured with just a hint of mint. It was scrumptious.
I passed on making a dessert and we picked through a selection of cheeses, one American, one Dutch and a nice french goat cheese that can be bought in the City. We even managed to find a bottle of Port to accompany the feast.
Good friends, good wine, good food and great conversation.