My husband comes from a large family, rich in cousins. About three or four times a year, we get together with Vincent’s brother and his family and (our favorite cousins) Cousin Wessel and his family for a gastronomic experience. What started out as a fun evening of wine and cheese tasting for 6 adults 20 years ago has turned into a quarterly feast for 14 – 16 people, counting offspring and boyfriends/girlfriends.
In the early days we would choose a wine region and base the menu around the wine. These days the food takes precedence and we’ve been choosing “themes” rather than holding everyone to strictly cooking from a particular cuisine. The hosts pick the theme and do the main course. The other two couples either make the appetizer or dessert, and if the offspring are so inclined, they might make an amuse or some kind of canapés. We’ve had themes ranging from “Healthy Spring” to “Fish Fantasy” to yesterday’s theme: “Great Train Journeys”.
There were so many ways to go with this one. Since it was our turn to host, we focused on the countries with famous trains. Vincent was for the “California Zephyr”, but a lot of the ingredients we needed weren’t really appropriate for the season, ditto “The City of New Orleans”. “The Flying Scotsman” offered possibilities for all kinds of salmon dishes, but we were kind of bored with salmon. In the end, we choose the Nilgiri Mountain Railway from Mettupalaiyam to Ooty in Tamil Nadu. Vincent cooked Indian.
The Blue Train (South Africa)
Tiliapiapaté with Smoked Trout
garnished with red caviaar and cucumber ribbons
Wine: Montagny Premier Cru
The Nilgiri Mountain Railway (India)
Chingri Malai Kari (shrimp curry)
served with Basmati Rice
(stirfried peas with caraway and coconut)
Wine: Schloss Halburturn Impérial
The Orient Express
A grand dessert experience taking you from Paris to Istanbul
Burgundy Granita (Paris)
Sacher Torte (Vienna)
Wine: Strangely enough, a cold Brunello and it was delicious
Joe College played piano,
we listened to some vintage vinyl,
We talked and laughed a lot and made plans for the first BBQ on the 9th of May. I hope the weather changes by then.
Our favorite dinner music
* Crossposted from my primary blog:
** All photos are my own