Sunday, 2 March 2008
One of my long-standing fantasies involves a dinner party. A rather specific one. For years, I've been compiling a guest list of the most interesting people I've met, and even though they're all over the world, one day I hope I can get them all in the same room. And when I do, I will feed them, because there is something about making food for people. And for those of you who know an obsessive cook, there is something about people who know how to be gracious dinner guests. Such people make me very very happy, and tend to get several cakes over the course of week-long visit... I really do have dreams about this. Occasionally, I even buy a lottery ticket. But for the time being, I have to settle for introducing people to each other when geography allows. Here's a dinner from one such introduction that took place in one of my favorite apts to stay at in Montreal (the people who live there are soooo fun to cook for) and a good friend from out of town, plus a mystery girl. It was one of those magic-tinged nights of good conversations, lovely people, yummy food, and just enough wine and chili to counteract winter. Greens (cumin, asafoetida, chili, onions, chickpea flour), ginger dal (red lentils and green peas cooked in tumeric and whole garlic cloves and cashews, with mustard seeds, onions, black pepper and lots and lots and lots of ginger fried up and added at the end, and a generous squeeze of lemon juice just before serving), coconut-lime-coriander chutney. Deep dark chocolate cake (2 smallish blocks tofu, 1.5 cups maple syrup, 3/4 cup cocoa, 1 bar worth of chocolate chunks (minus "quality control"), cardamom, pepper, flour...I didn't measure it... sorry, baking powder, salt) topped with caffeine-attack sludge (cocoa, maple syrup, espresso, cardamom).
Last night was a bit calmer. Only two of us. I was cooking for more, and I must say that my dinner guest held up admirably under the barrage of food. I was just trying out some fun stuff... sour potatoes (potatoes and parsnip in tamarind, tomato paste, tomato, green chili, onions, garlic, fenugreek, raisins, and fresh coriander) and tofu and spinach (roasted cumin and coriander, nutmeg, ground cashews, ginger/garlic paste, jalapeno, salt) on red jasmine rice. It was one of those long lazy evenings, so there were also leek mini pancakes (leeks, flour, curry powder, baking soda) with tamarind sauce. There was also a dazzling array of pickes, plus the lentil dessert. And gin.