Saturday 25 June 2011

Midsummer : Friends for Dinner

In lieu of summer weather (raining again today, can't believe there's play at Wimbledon) we decided to eat the season instead and enjoy the flavour of summer with some good friends. We got know each other through our teeny children and many, many hours at playgroups, swimming pools and play centres and, although we moved over the hills a few years ago, we still get together every now and again to share home cooked food and lots of laughter.

On a chilly spring night we last met up over in the spa town for dinner at J & A's. It was a fabulous Thai evening and we ate sweetcorn fritters, fragrant green curry and coconut ice cream with luscious mango. A's lemon grass martinis were out of this world. So what to cook for our turn?
We love to cook and eat seasonally and enjoy what's best from our local farms and producers when we can so that was where I started from. Our produce is a little thin on the ground so far (apart from early peas, tons of mint from my mum and last autumn's raspberries from the allotment I had in the freezer) so I turned to our smashing butcher, the greengrocer and his vibrant stall for ideas, as well as a little inspiration from Mr Slater.

Menu for a Summer's Evening

:: Baked field mushrooms with broad beans, early peas, goat's cheese, mint and lemon thyme ::

:: Roast shoulder of spring lamb with garlic, cumin and garden mint ::
:: Sweet potato gratin ::
:: New season broccoli ::

:: Lemon ricotta cheesecake with confit of lemons ::

:: Raspberry & elderflower Bellinis ::

It all went really nicely, my portion control wasn't fantastic and I ought to have made two gratins and cooked more broccoli but I think we were all pretty well fed overall and we laughed ourselves daft as usual. It would have been lovely to sip our cocktails in the garden and watch the midsummer moon rise over the meadows but never mind.

My culinary confidence is definitely growing so we've promised to have everyone back for a harvest supper in September. Yum.


The Pea Pod said...

The table looks lovely x

Shari said...

Wow. Both meals sound awesome! I admire your ambition.

The Cookie Jar said...

The table looks great, love the flowers. There is nothing nicer than friends and good home cooked food. You might find Sarah Raven Garden cookbook intersting. Nice seasonal recipes

Hen said...

Sounds fab, Steph! I'm sure your guests were very impressed. Love your garden flowers. Sun is finally peeking out here and I've just finished jamming some more rasps from the garden so now I think I can ignore the weeds no longer...drat!
Have a great weekend.
Hen x

Miss Holly said...'ll need enough time to fly in from the states...what a feast!! And your lovely table and looks like a pic from a fine living magazine...I love your gingham curtains....and the flowers from your lovely garden....we too are living in the world of fog and rain...I think we are in for a dry out tomorrow...we are getting lettuce ..peas with a lot of slugs...well it is very green!! I always love to see your site pop up!! Happy day!

**Anne** said...

WOW, fantastic menu, it's great sharing a meal with friends. Your flowers are so pretty.
Anne xx

Madison said...

Sounds like the perfect evening. Lovely table, scrummy food and great company. Hope to score an invite to your next dinner party. I'll bring pudding.

Madison xxx

...Nina Nixon... said...

Mmmmmm - yum Steph - you've certainly got my taste buds going.

Seasonal so far for us is a ton of strawberries and kale - the two don't really go hand in hand, but lots of jam - strawberry that is.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend,

Nina x

SG said...

Sounds very tasty. Love the flowers too.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely menu you had!
And the art de la table, cosy and colourful!Well done!
I'm having friends over next week and I'm having trouble putting the menu together. I liked the cheesecake idea...hmmm...

Emma Herian said...

Oh, I just want to go and eat that menu right now! How delicious and clever of you! We don't entertain enough, its so silly really as I love it when we do. You have inspired me to go and ask someone to dinner, not sure my table will look as nice as your setting!

Pomona said...

Sounds delicious - especially the pudding!

Pomona x

Madelief said...

Hi Steph,

The menu sounds delicious! The table looks lovely. Those garden flowers look just perfect on your table.

Enjoy your evening!

Madelief x

Unknown said...

Safe to say, I think we are all wishing to have been around your cosy looking table eating that delish dins! I agree with a previous commenter, the Sarah Raven cookbook is great for seasonal cooking, and I like Jamie's veg growing/cooking book too. More and more I like to keep things really simple and just enjoy the company.

Trixie@ the vintage bothy said...

sounds really scrummy and the table looked beautiful.
T x

bellaboo said...

I love your menu choice,I bet your friends were impressed with your culinary skills.Hope you are getting the heatwave this weekend too. :0)

Joshy and belle said...

What a pretty setting too, will you have room for an extra at your next one? Fliss xxx

Ashley said...

Gorgeous flowers! I adore the jug that they're in, it's really lovely.
Your welsh dresser is just what I want.. well, we have a natural coloured one at the moment.. but was debating painting it white.

Ashley xx

LandGirl1980 said...

My invite must have got lost in the post? *ahem*

This sounds DELICIOUS!!!

bibbitybob said...

The menu sounds delicious and your table looks beautiful x

Sandi said...

Your dinner sounds delicious and I read it whilst eating my breakfast porridge, my mouth was watering, and not from the porridge!!
x Sandi

Naturally Carol said...

Your posts never fail to inspire and delight me..I love the colours and the welcome that your house exudes!

millefeuilles said...

I always enjoying visiting your blog for some quintessential British lovliness. Your seasonal dinner must have been wonderful and now you can dream about your Harvest supper menu!

Here in the Loire Valley we are back to summer weather; hot, hot, hot. I hear in England you are having a fine weekend too? Enjoy!

Katy Noelle said...

Hello, Steff!

I'm with the others - it all looks and sounds perfect!

I love that...."we laughed ourselves daft!" What a lovely ol' life!=]

Love, Katy Noelle xo

Miriam said...

Hello, my name is Miriam I "follow" you from Italy, from lot of time. Now it is time to thank you for this nice post, for the pictures of the last post and for eveything you post on your blog!
have you got papery pictures of those flowers?

Tea with Prudence said...

I adore coming to visit your blog.

It inspires me really enjoy the role of homemaker.
I even had my husband (would you believe), going through your blog with me, as we sat in bed last Saturday morning, with our cup of tea and toast.

I like to flick through the blogs at that time, as it's WAY better than magazines.

He loved your photographs of seaside place, boats, bloke sort of stuff, but also the gardens.

Im sure he wouldn't admit it to his friends tho. (but we know, don't we?)


Cindy said...

Those flowers are absolutely amazing! I just adore your sense of style--the colors, the fun!

Your blog is so fun to sit and just scroll through--I feel like I'm on holiday when I see your photos.

purple-roses-country-cottage said...

Dear Steph, this is the first time I read your blog - and I love it!
I just scroll through it and through all the nice photos. So lovely! I will be back to your blog more often!
Kindest regards Nicole

lemonade stand said...

I always like to visit your blog for some quintessential British lovliness. Your seasonal dinner must have been wonderful, your Harvest supper menu is good.