24 January, 2008

Having a Blast with Mary

We had a great deal of fun the last few days in the company of Lisa's college friend, Mary, who flew in from New York to spend a while with us. Mary has long been a great friend of Lisa's and distinguished herself by being the only person to make the trip from the USA to our wedding (all those years ago!). Her visit was planned over the cusp of the New Year and she duly arrived chez-nous on Saturday. That evening we cooked our current favourite dish, the Kingfish Mooli with boiled red rice, on what turned out to be our only evening eating in.

Sunday we all walked along Mill Road into the town centre to show Mary some of the sights. Lunch was at the famous Eagle pub and in the evening we dined at the Loch Fyne restaurant on Trumpington Street. On Monday, I had to go to work but Lisa took the day off to take Mary on a trip into London. They started in Westminster at the Cabinet War Rooms and finished up in Chinatown at the New World restaurant before getting the last train home. In spite of some very wet weather they seemed to have had a good time.

Mary had Tuesday to herself while we were at work and in the evening we rounded off the culinary part of the visit with dinner at our favourite local place: Café Adriatic up on Mill Road. We finished on a gustatory high which was appropriate as it was Mary's birthday. She flew home yesterday leaving behind two very happy hosts who'd enjoyed her stay tremendously and were already looking forward to the next opportunity for meeting up with her.

17 January, 2008

Couscous and Curry

On Saturday we were delighted to play hosts to our friends Frank and Debby. As Debby is a "vegetenarian", as Frank memorably puts it, we were careful to ensure that no dead animals featured in the evening's menu. The centrepiece was a huge platter of couscous with mixed vegetables which seemed to go down well with all concerned.

The following day Lisa and I were in a curry mood and spent several hours preparing a feast of Chettinad chicken curry (one of our favourite dishes from Atul Kochar's "Indian Essence"), Bengali-style Aubergine in Yoghurt (from Anjum Anand's "Indian Food Made Easy"), a Coconut Fish Curry based on Atul Kochar's recipe but made with kingfish, a cucumber raita and a pot of red boiled rice. The only trouble was that by the time we'd brought all this to our groaning board, we were pretty pooped and settled for a simple dinner of just the kingfish mooli and the red boiled rice.

On Tuesday we reprised the couscous dish from Saturday but, true to our omnivorous inclinations, we added some chicken to the mix as shown in the photo at the head of this entry. Yesterday we made a fresh pot of rice (Basmati this time) and refreshed the unused dishes from Sunday night to enjoy a delicious midweek curry for next to no kitchen labour (at least, on the night itself).

We'll be entertaining again this coming weekend as Lisa's great friend Mary is coming over from New York for a few days with us. In fact, rather than writing this, I should be sorting out the spare room this evening to make all ready for her arrival on Saturday!

07 January, 2008

Belated New Year's Eve

We stayed home "à deux" on New Year's Eve, cooked a nice dinner for ourselves and opened a bottle of Champagne to toast the chimes of Big Ben at midnight. At which time Lisa was actually on the phone to her good friend Mary in New York City, so Mary was remotely with us as the New Year arrived in the UK. During that call we arranged a date for Mary to come visit us here in Cambridge in just three weeks' time. More on that in due course, no doubt!

This last weekend we had a kind of belated New Year's party down in London at the home of our dear friends Chris & Tony. Eight of us sat down to a superb dinner of ceviche followed by chicken casserole and several other dishes. A great time was had by all. Sunday, the six of us who stayed the night had a late breakfast and walked up to Alexandra Palace to get some fresh air and stretch our legs.

Lisa and I took a detour on our way home to have dinner in the New World, our favourite restaurant in London's Chinatown. Lisa has blogged elsewhere about Thursday's dinner which was delicious. Wednesday was our first day back at work since 21st December so, instead of cooking for ourselves, we treated ourselves to dinner out at the local "Strada" which, for a chain restaurant, has a relaxing and unhurried atmosphere and even manages a touch of elegance.

02 January, 2008

Holiday Menus

We really went to town with the cooking over this holiday period. We didn't photograph every single dinner but, in truth, they were all very tasty and satisfying. Several of the links below are to entries in Lisa's
A Cook's Journal blog, the others are to photos in my Flikr photostream. The full roll-call is as follows: