We had some friends over for dinner on Friday. A problem that I have noticed in our friendship group is that pretty much all the couples come with one fussy eater. So it takes some serious consideration as to what will suit. This pair are pretty easy, all things considered. She eats most things (prefers her meat well-done), but he only eats a limited number of vegetables - and not really the ones we mostly eat.
At the market the other week I'd bought a beautiful boned haunch of roe venison. In the hope that it would be bbq weather, I took inspiration from Heather and did a dry rub for the meat. Mine was toasted cumin and coriander (a nod to the South African origins of 3 of the people at my table), juniper, salt, white pepper and some brown sugar. Unfortunately the weather didn't play along, so it had to be roasted.
I did a sort of potatoes dauphinoise thing - layers of potato and celeriac, with a persillade and some grated cheese between the layers, covered with a mixture of milk and cream and baked really slowly for almost 2 hours. And peas and spinach braised with spring onions and white wine.
Very happy with how that all went. The meat was tender and juicy and very well-flavoured, the veg were the perfect thing.
Pudding presented a bit more of a challenge. This couple think that dessert begins and ends with chocolate. I like fruit. And there is so much fantastic summer fruit about at the moment so I decided to pervert a classic and do a chocolate cherry clafoutis. This one looked gorgeous but as soon as I saw "make two batters" I ditched that idea and just made a normal clafoutis batter, substituting some good cocoa for a bit of the flour, and breaking a bar of 85% cocoa chocolate over the cherries, so it melted into little puddles in the batter. It was OK, but not a patch on the original for my palate.