Saturday, 14 April 2012

Fancy French Food


I have been putting my new recipe book to good use and last night we decided to cook a little three course meal, and eat it at the table (!) not on the sofa as we so often do when we are tired. 

My favourite part of any "fancy" meal is setting the table. Probably because I know that I can have total control over it, unlike the food. Tulips, bay, wall flowers and grape hyacinths from the garden filled two Kilner jars. Candles in some gorgeous tea light holders I bought on sale in The White Company. My Grandma's silver cutlery made a guest appearance - we don't use it everyday as it can't go in the dishwasher, which just makes me love it more. The Denby Ode plates are part if a huge dinner service that my Mother in Law, Jean, gave us a few years ago. They were given to her as a wedding present in the late 1960's.



Our starter was Puy lentil salad with goats cheese, beetroot and dill vinaigrette. It is an assembly job with little actual cooking involved, but all the flavours balance each other beautifully. Light but full of flavour, a perfect starter. I will be making this when we next have friends over as nothing can go wrong in this dish.


Next, lemon and lavender chicken with potato dauphinois and a green salad. The chicken is jointed, marinaded in honey, lavender and lemon, then roasted. So good, sweet and sticky with tender juicy meat. And the potatoes...I could eat these every day. Potatoes sliced and baked in cream, so delicious, and a good opportunity to use my new enamel baking dish.


Then creme brulee - John's favourite. We even purchased a special kitchen blowtorch for the occasion (so much fun!!!). The flavour was perfect but they were a little runnier than they should have been - I don't think we chilled the custards for long enough before eating them. Greedy, impatient people! But the crack of the spoon on top of the caramelised sugar made it worth it.


I'm off to learn to crochet today - hurrah! And I probably shouldn't eat much, either, as I may have gained a little (ahem) weight this week. Have a lovely Saturday everyone!

22 comments:

Anna said...

What a lovely looking meal. A nice way to make an evening in feel a bit more special and you got to practise the recipes before sharing with friends Great idea. xx

Andrea said...

Yay for French food and a beautiful table :) looks yummy, though this family is allergic to cheese and I have to eat it in hiding :( good luck with the crochet from a self-taught crochter. I love it and find it so addictive x

Karen said...

Wow that meal looks amazing! It is lovely to sit and be grown up every so often. When our older children were wee Mark & I used to have a proper sit down meal every week. There are times when I think that those meals kept us sane. It made us talk about things other than the children or day to day boring stuff - things that can get lost like your dreams.
Good luck with learning to crochet - bet you pick it up really quickly. Looking forward to seeing how you get on! x

Anonymous said...

A beautifully prepared placesetting, perfectly paired with delicious looking food!! I love using canning jars as vases... have a lovely Saturday ;-)

cassie said...

i'd love to come to dinner at your house! it all sounds, and looks, amazing. i love how you set a beautiful table, even though you didn't have company over. so often we forget to make things special if it's 'just for us.' well done!

Julia said...

What a delicious French dinner and the creme brûlée is the perfect dessert!! Your table setting is so beautiful...I love the jars filled with fresh flowers!

Col @ Hello Olive said...

Oh wow, looks absolutely delish!

mags said...

Food and table look fantastic ... what a treat! The starter looks great for me (as a veggie) and I love creme brullee - though I've never made it.

Elizabeth said...

Hi from Down Under...Gillian, this looks lovely! Like Amelie, I love creme brulee too. What a treat to get a mimi blow torch! Have a lovely weekend, cheers from Liz

Gillian said...

The lentil starter is vegetarian too - I will give you the recipe. xx

Gillian said...

Allergic to cheese - no! I'm impressed that you taught yourself crochet! i made my first granny square yesterday, LOVED it. But i need to learn so much more...

Gillian said...

Karen, you're right, you need those moments with little ones as they do tend to take over everything! The crochet is fun and addictive, but i need to master increasing and decreasing for a ripple blanket!

Gillian said...

Thanks for stopping by Debra Anne, and your lovely comments. Canning jars are prefect as often the flowers from the garden don't have very long stems - and they look so pretty! Gillian x

Gillian said...

Cassie, we don't eat like that every night! But if you're ever on the same continent as me, you'd be very welcome. xx

Gillian said...

Thanks Julia, the creme brulee was delicious but I need to cook it more to get the consistency right. Hmm, what a shame ;-)

Gillian said...

Hi Col, thanks for stopping by. It was delish! But fattening. :-( How are french women so supposedly slim?? Gillian x

Gillian said...

The starter was the best bit - so easy! Puy lentils are yum, I will definitely cook with them more. x

Gillian said...

Hi Elizabeth, thanks so much for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment. We keep looking for other things we can eat that involve a blow torch - i don't want it to become one of those bits of kitchen kit that only get used once a year (like my orange juicer...) Gillian x

Oh Abigail said...

Anything flavoured with Lavendar is a winner in my book! We used to eat puy lentils a lot but since having the small one less so as we found they come out exactly the same in the nappy so little point eating them ;) Perhaps it is time for us to have grown up meals too! ps you are a stick, weight should not worry you! xxxx

FourHappyBunnies said...

Hi Gillian. Your food and table look lovely. I hope you had a lovely evening - it is so special to find time for the grown ups in the house xx

Gillian said...

Gross! Thanks for giving me that mental image! :-) xxx

Gillian said...

Thanks, it was lovely. We said afterwards we should do it more often.