Thursday, March 31, 2011

Weekend dinner party

We spent part of this past weekend plotting, preparing and cooking a dinner for friends who came over on Sunday. One of them is a French, professional chef, and we wanted to make something special, or at least tasty. Our budget doesn’t allow us to splurge often, but we do enjoy cooking together, so it was a nice treat.

I think what we enjoy the most about cooking is the ideas and the final touches. The most time consuming part – at least in this part of the world – is the “hunting and gathering” as we used to call it in Cairo: the part where we walk from store to store trying to find and buy all the ingredients we’ll need. It can be very frustrating, and often costly. This time it wasn’t too bad though.

I find the second most time consuming and tedious part about cooking something nice – and this is because good cooking requires fresh ingredients – is the cleaning, washing and cutting. It is not my favorite part, but I find it quite satisfying to know that everything we consume is fresh and thoroughly prepared.

Our menu:

#Three types of home-made pasta (thanks to a good friend, we trail around the world with a most useful pasta machine)
  • Sea Bass filled Ravioli with seafood sauce (How did we make it? We started with three large, uncleaned, freshly caught Sea Bass, and went from there...)
  • Chestnut filled Ravioli with Mascarpone and Sage sauce (This one started with a kilo of fresh - unroasted, uncooked still-in-their shells chestnuts)
  • Artichoke Ravioli with thyme butter (This one started with six small, fresh artichokes)

#Falsomagro, which is an Italian meat dish that is anything but “magro”, served with an Italian soup, or rather a leek mold – cooked leek blended with ricotta, nutmeg, eggs, Pecorino, and a few other ingredients – with a pureed vegetable sauce on top, and Aubergine (eggplant) Pecorino

#Bomb au Chocolat – which is a chocolate mousse and meringue cake, served with Chamomile tea.

I think everything turned out well and that it was very much appreciated. We all had a good time. We don't have that many friends here in Beirut, and no extra money, so we don't get to entertain here in Lebanon the way we used to in the past - it was fun!

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