Saturday night dinner invite from Craftapalooza in a kind of Perth handfertigkeit blogger conference. Unusually, I had no cooking to do. Nothing, not even a salad. Instead, Toni and I went wine shopping with the nice idea of finding a wine of the same vintage as our wedding anniversary, getting half a dozen and enjoying them over the next 6 years, after which we would divorce amicably. ’98s aren’t the easiest to get a hold of so I went back to the bottle shop at Steve’s, Nedlands and its amazing cellar do see what could be found.
I honestly had no idea, so asked the manager – cabernet, aging potential, light, fortiish. He wandered off to the computer and came back 20 minutes later with a dozen pages of print out puts with likely suspects marked with a biro. Not a good year for Maragaret River but a good one for the Coonawarra region in South Australia. Came down to the Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon or the Majella. 20 minutes of searching yielded 6 bottles of the former so we went with that. Well recommended for their range and their help, a few more occasional good bottles might be in order though it’s hard to just get one with the lure of a 10% discount for half a dozen. Will be trying out the first bottle next week. Hope we like it.
A quick stop at Maison Perry of Dalkeith (actually broadway Nedlands) for the rare Perth treat of a savoury brioche. Handsome looking petite fours but bought some micro-eclairs to take along to dinner. The rest of the afternoon was spent cleaning out the pantry and marvelling at the natural wonder of weevil colonies (apologies to anyone whose had a red lentil curry over at ours).
The Japanese are great avoiders of socially awkward moments and usually avoid eating at the houses of people they don’t know particularly well in favour of restaurants. I’m a little bolder but always make sure to follow a few basic principles. Check for exits – is the front door locked, is there a back door, what do you land on on the other side of the window. Check the kitchen – are the knives on a rail, you’ve got two seconds; in a block, a couple more; in a draw, probaly five or six and they’ll be in the second draw. Household items – sure it doesn’t look like much, but a French Knitting Santa could be your best friend in a tight situation. Be aware – does your seat face the kitchen, good, but is there another way to the dining room behind you. Be prepared – always have a drink in your hand, momentary blinding gives you valuable seconds.
Dinner. Dinner was wonderful. I’m a big fan of figs and prosciutto but grilling them with a sage leaf and drizzling with burnt butter sauce made all kinds of porky sense. Mains was the barbecued lamb cutlets with the nice touch of being able to do the korma dipping and crushed almond encrusting ourselves. Crunch from the shoot salad and tasty carbos from the Aloo Gobi (yes, yes aloo to you to too). Handy hints were heating the roti in the frezer and keeping flour in the sandwich press. Good stuff. Chris was responsible for these and aptly got them from Delicious magazine. Apparently he’s also a dab hand with pastries and can crank out home made pasta in under 20. I don’t doubt this, I had no here-let-me-do-that-pangs whatsoever.
Nicole borrowed an ice-cream maker and treated us to home made licorice ice-cream with honey biscuit. I’m usually a bit iffy about aniseed and licorice but this was excellent, creamy without being overly sweet. A perfect finish. I was amazed how smoothly dinner prep went. My own dinner party kitchen efforts usually look like a one man version of Das Boot to the tune of a klaxon.
Drinks we’re my responsiblity and went with a Ninth Island Reisling for starters which I found pleasant enough, if a little lemony insipid. Kingfisher lager was to go with the curry and did its job well. Finally I picked up a bottle Perrin 2000 Cotes du Ventoux La Vieille Ferme at Steve’s to try. I love it. LOVE. Australian wines can be all “and on the trombone” but this French wine plucked away at my tongue like a koto. I drank most of it. A grenache I’m told. Under $15 dollars. I would like must have more.
The last of the red saw the end of an evening. Quality chat based around a common friend, food, knick knacks, Jawbreaker, and me knowing roughly what a Toyota rokuhachi is (rear wheel drive four significantly lighter than the Volvo) and does (slides). We were seen off with CDs and chutney. A lovely evening, and thanks greatly we’ll reciprocate soon. Forgot the micro-eclairs, bugger.