We had a really great tea party yesterday. tash & radish, mara, dave, ali & charlie, viola, gaelle, zezi, little lucy, bharat & kylie, keith & olivia, me and stav, and lots of others drifting in and out.
the cakes were immense: CHOCOLATE & RUM; CARROT & RAISIN; BANANA, TOFFEE & WALNUT; BAKEWELL SQUARES' CHOCOLATE BROWNIES; LEMON & POLENTA; ROSIE'S ROSE BISCUITS....
and after all that cake we went and had a refreshing pint at the brilliant Efra Pub on Kellet Road, where they do an ace jerk chicken too.
The next party that we do will probably be a mull, nearer to christmas.
AND FOR THE MACKEREL GRATIN: once the pints had been drunk, dinner and a night in was calling me. with zezi, i hunted down a mackerel fillet. (i already had some big new potatoes off the market, along with a couple of celery bunches.)
so i ran into my presently derelict kitchen, quickly chopped the celery into chunks for roasting with lots of olive oil and salt, and set to a mackerel gratin (that i'm sure nigel slater recommends):
4 big potatoes
1/2 bag of baby leaf spinach
a nob of butter
100ml single cream
1 mackerel fillet
100ml edam or gruyere
preheat the oven to 220C. peel and finely slice the potatoes (with a mandolin if you have one). place on a low heat, with the milk and cream and butter poured ontop. gently cook, stirring frequently as the milk and potatoes get pretty sticky. when they are nearly cooked, crumble in the mackerel and set aside for a moment. lay the spinach out in a ceramic baking dish and pour over the potato mix. grate over the cheese, and lots of seasoning. bake for 20 minutes or until the top is crisp and golden and the edges still bubbling and wet.
i ate this with cheap red wine, rupert everett making me laugh, and my nail varnish drying. really good comfort food, full of creamy hugs and an ideal lady evening.