The triumph of the picnic was John’s caponata. It involved soy sauce, red pepper flakes and fennel in addition to the more traditional eggplant, olives and peppers, This was run a close second by Tom’s taramasalata, made with madness potatoes.
Ramadan Susie had been forced to call in reinforcements as her own preparations for the tailgate spread at the Montpelier Hunt Races were scuppered by Hurricane Sandy. She and Amadeus got stuck in Paris and so couldn’t cook for their own party. By the looks of them yesterday they spent their extra days of vacation in the shops. Amadeus was sporting a rather fine red, black and grey scarf, and Susie had a new worsted coat with interesting Parisian buttons. Obviously, they’d had a hellish Hurricane.
I failed to win any money on the horses but otherwise enjoyed the day. I decided to drive home last night as I wanted to spend last night’s welcome extra hour in my own bed, and to use today to get ready for my next raft of UK visitors.
The spare beds are now freshly made, the dishwasher and the tumble drier have been working overtime (lovely, lovely electricity), and a chicken and leek pie is underway for Gretel’s dinner.
I decided to have a go at recreating a couple of the pictures that hang on my bedroom wall. The first is a water color by Donegal artist James O’Connell–I bought it from a gallery in Dunfanaghy at least 25 years ago–and the second is a pastel created by my father. Truthfully, it was good to try this without having him around to tell me where I was going wrong, or how I could improve. Sometimes, it is good just to give something a go and enjoy it, without feeling a need to get it right.
There has been no further word from Spud and the Contessa who are finishing up their weekend at Ballymaloe. Perhaps they burst after breakfast. Clan Magennis is to fly back to the UK this evening. My fingers are firmly crossed that they will board their flight and cross the Atlantic without incident.
You can find the caponata recipe John used in Staff Meals cookbook.