It ain’t easy being a saloniere

Or is it supposed to be salonista?

I digress.

Last night, a dinner party, chez moi, in honor of my friend Harriet
(from whose wonderful house in Ireland the photo below was taken). We
were 7 at 7, or thereabouts, and what marvelous company it was. Writers,
readers, editors, a professor, an actress, and several who overlap most
of these categories. The talk was often sparkling and occasionally
intense; the food, if I do say so myself, was one of my more magnificent
attempts; and the flowers, candles, and tablescapes did their
celebratory part.

The menu:

  • Ricotta torte

Recipe from the River Cafe in London.
A savory, creamy, pungent softness, spoonbread-like texture, courtesy
of ricotta (NB: get the great stuff, from a cheesemonger, not in tubs at
the grocery–this makes all the difference), herbs (basil, mint, and
Italian parsley), black olives, eggs and cream, whizzed with lots of
fresh Parmesan; baked until slightly firm, and served with my very own
innovation, a tomato chutney

  • Lamb stew with fresh asparagus and peas

an astonishing recipe from Amanda Hesser’s The Cook and the Gardener.
The lamb becomes meltingly tender after slow braising in a rich liquid,
with last-minute additions of asparagus and peas adding a fabulous
contrast in texture and colors.

  • Lemon-rosemary roasted potatoes

What can you say about these delicious wedges, from one of the Books for Cooks volumes? People were lifting them out of the bowl with their fingers.

  • Audrey’s gateau au yogurt

No idea who Audrey is, and now can’t remember where this recipe came
from–one of those I-travel-and-eat-in-France books. It’s an
ordinary–to the French–cake made with thick Greek yogurt and dark
chocolate, which is swirled into the yellow batter. Sprinkled with
confectioner’s sugar, and served with an extra dollop of the yogurt and,
last night, some passionfruit.

I was full and happy when I finally fell into bed at 2 am–on a schoolnight!

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