It was a major birthday. Bob's 65th. He was so cheery when he got his bus pass, and now he has his pension to look forward to. Yes, he has a somewhat dry sense of humour. Ahem.
But how to celebrate this milestone? No party, no packdrill. He doesn't like a fuss.
However, he loves his dinners. So I asked him what he would like to eat. Oh anything, he said. Well, I said. That isn't very helpful is it....
I got him to decide on either lamb or sole for the main course, and dessert was to be "apricotty" . OK. Starter was my choice.
We don't have any fishmongers round here any more, so I decided against sole. And we are both rather partial to rack of lamb so that was decided.
I love scallops but they are quite expensive so we don't have them very often. But that makes them even more suitable for a celebration. Waitrose had some rather nice plump looking King Scallops.
Dessert. Apricots bought, and a tart decided on. I wish fresh apricots were easier to buy nicely ripe though. Peeling an unripe apricot is a highly thankless task. I tried blanching and skinning like I would do tomatoes, but the skins were decidedly unyielding. So then I baked them in the oven in a vanilla syrup, and then skinned them but sadly the move from nicely tender to rather soft was wooooosh. Oh well. the top will have to be a puree then.
Here we are :
King Scallops with caramelised beurre blanc - caramelised because I kept doing something else, and finding the wine had all evaporated. So a bit more wine and off we go again... three times before the butter was added. I tell you this is the way to make beurre blanc! Really good depth of flavour.
Rack of Lamb with celeriac and potato mash, red wine sauce, and a little piss take on Masterchef which is on at the moment, in the form of 3 teeny little roast potatoes. There would have been more but I got the timing wrong, and the rest were rather nearer to incinerated than golden brown.
Apricot tart - crisp pastry, creamy crème patissiere , topped with the apricots I salvaged almost whole and a lot of puree. Very delicious if not as pretty as I would have liked. I only have 4 inch individual tartlet cases, and expected to want to leave half as it was definitely on the large size. Don't be silly. Scarfed the lot we did...
And to drink with this (hurray for eating at home, since I wasn't driving I got to drink too...)
A rather tasty Rioja (on very special half price at Sainsbury's) and our very very favourite dessert wine Maculan Dindarello which we buy by the half case because if we bought a whole case we would just drink more of it. It is luscious stuff, apricotty and sweet but with a little acidity.. gorgeous.
So that was his dinner. He ate every shred of it. And so did I.