Tag Archives: dinner

1841. Eustace’s ducks

Eustace was eleven years old. He lived in the country. He had four pet ducks. They were black and white.

A river passed through the neighbouring farm. It wasn’t a big river; more of a large stream. One day Eustace’s ducks waddled down to the river and went for a swim. Eustace told the farmer. The farmer didn’t mind. He said the ducks were welcome to cross his fields and swim all day if they wished. Besides, they looked pretty swimming around.

So that is what they did. Every morning before school Eustace would let the ducks out of their pen and they would waddle down to the river. They messed about in the river all day. Then after school (after he had done his homework) he would go down to the river, call the ducks, and they would follow him home. Of course they followed because they knew it was dinner time.

One day Eustace went down to the river and called but no ducks came. Then he saw them. They had been shot at close range by a hunter and tossed into a pool in the river. The hunter hadn’t even bothered to take them home to eat.

Eustace never got any more ducks.

1599. Who’s for croquet?

You’ve no idea the trouble Noeline Hartstonge and husband Quentin had in procuring ethically sourced cocoa beans. They were to be used as a conclusion to an ordinary dinner with several other couples they had met through the local Croquet Club. Ethically sourced cocoa beans and organically grown bananas. These days it was fast becoming almost impossible to entertain.

Clyde Currie was the only invited guest to eat meat. Was he going to feel hard done by when served only vegetables? Three of the guests (I shall not name them because things could become tedious) were vegan. Does one make the whole meal vegan, or are the vegans happy to sit at a table while Clyde sucks on a lamb chop and the other guests quaff egg-based quiche?

Noeline settled for a completely vegan option. It was a lot more straightforward than trying to cater for all sorts of needs. She had to make the cucumber soup twice, because the first time she accidentally used (out of sheer habit one suspects) chicken bouillon. The first main course, made mainly with kidney beans, once prepared looked a little too much like ground meat, but Noeline managed to disguise the meat-look by decorating it with button mushrooms.

The little dinner party began. The pre-dinner aqua with ice cubes and a smidgen of organic lemon juice was delightful. When it came to the mains, Audrey enquired that although it looked like ground meat with mushrooms on it, she hoped it wasn’t cooked in an oven that previously had meat cooked in it. The flavour comes through, and Audrey said she wasn’t a raging carnivore. She would pass on the kidney beans. Ronald and Emile concurred. They didn’t want to make themselves ill.

Francine said she would pass on the main because of the mushrooms. Although she wasn’t impartial to them, she had read somewhere that sometimes people can develop allergies later in life. She had no intention of tempting fate. Also, there was no guarantee that the mushroom farmer had standards of hygiene approved by the government. What did it say on the packet?

I do hope, Noeline, that you didn’t use salt; or if you did that it’s kosher. And I heard that pepper is actually fattening.

In the end, all settled for an organic banana, although Myrtle gratefully declined because of unjust wages paid to workers in Ecuador. It’s because people unlike her are not taking a stand that everyone in these third world countries have to do without. It’s bananas!

But what a delightful evening! Quite, quite delightful!

Noeline Hartstonge and husband Quentin are thinking of taking up lawn bowls.

1386. Groceries for dinner

“And so, darling,” said Dinah to her husband, Pete, as she was about to leave for town, “what would you like for dinner tonight?”

“Chicken hearts,” said Pete. Pete loved chicken hearts. Dinah hated chicken hearts. She knew he said that on purpose to annoy her.

“And take the dog with you in the car,” said Pete, “he’s getting cabin fever with all this bad weather we’re having.”

Dinah hated having to take the dog in the car when she went shopping. It prevented her from quietly shopping for hours in the big shops. Probably Pete had done it on purpose, to stop her squandering both time and money.

So that was two things Dinah hated – chicken hearts and taking the dog in the car.

Later, driving home, Dinah conceived and implemented a delightful plan.

1282. Kitty’s obsession

Katrina, sometimes called Kitty and sometimes Kit depending on… on… absolutely nothing, was enthusiastically into yoga. It was yoga for breakfast, lunch and dinner – as the saying goes. To all intents and purposes it could be said that she was addicted to it. An obsession!

Personally I can’t stand the stuff. If anyone offered me yoga for breakfast I’d say, no thanks just a slice of toast and a coffee will do me fine.

1276. Dinner party chatter

What a delightful dinner party. Hedwig always manages to invite the most interesting guests. Last time there was a couple here from Saudi Arabia. My wife, who’s just left to go to the powder room, speaks fluent Arabic. They gabbled away for half the night in Arabic. Amazing! Of course, my wife is highly intelligent. And highly educated. In fact, as am I.

Emile here speaks and writes fluent Arabic. He learnt it in Djibouti when he was stationed there with the French army.

Oh! Does he? Oh! Of course my wife wouldn’t want to speak it when she returns. That would be rude. Especially since everyone else speaks only English. It would be like showing off. You may not know this, but my wife and I are heavily into horse racing. In fact, we own three race horses, and very successful they have been too. One even won the Melbourne Cup.

That’s amazing. Emile here owns two winning race horses. What did you say the names of your horses were?

Here comes my wife back now. Hello dear. I was just about to explain to this lovely couple here how we grow our own organic vegetables.

1225. The misfortune of Fluffy Balls

Stella had rather foolishly invited the neighbours, Mr and Mrs Jones, over for dinner. She had quite forgotten that there was no housekeeping money left in the kitty for the rest of the week. To put it bluntly, she was right out of cash and there was nothing in the freezer.

“What a stupid thing to do! What a stupid thing to do!” muttered Stella for the whole week. Somehow she was half waiting for a miracle – like by the time Friday came food would rather miraculously have fallen from the sky. One could hardly feed dinner guests on a slice of bread and a raw carrot and celery – which was all that was left. And then the miracle happened!

A rabbit!

A wild rabbit came hopping by just as Stella was emptying the tea pot of its leaves around the lemon tree. Swiftly she hit the rabbit on the head with the tea pot. It was dazed. Practical Stella wrung its neck, and with considerable joy she skinned and gutted it.

Rabbit stew! No one in the world could make rabbit stew as delicious as Stella. And Mr and Mrs Jones agreed.

“That was the most delicious rabbit I have ever tasted in my life,” said Mr Jones.

“Talk of coincidence,” laughed Mrs Jones. “It seems to be rabbit week. Our little daughter’s pet rabbit, Fluffy Balls, escaped and went missing earlier this very week.”

960. Maisie’s filo pastry

960filo

Making pastry wasn’t Maisie’s thing. She always bought her pastry. Making filo pastry was particularly troublesome. She rarely used it, but she got some for the freezer because she was having guests.

The big thing was to keep the pastry sheets from quickly drying out. Once unrolled they should be covered with a damp cloth.

Maisie had planned the loveliest menu for her guests. She had prepared the ground meat cooked with homemade sauces and spices. That took all morning. Then all afternoon was preparing three different sauce dips.

All that was required once the guests arrived was to quickly roll the meat into a thrice-layered square of filo pastry, brush it with melted butter, and throw it into the oven.

The guests arrived. What a gracious host Maisie was! She excused herself and went to the kitchen for the final sequence of her wondrous concoction. She took the filo pastry out of the freezer.

THAW FOR FOUR HOURS BEFORE USING.

Maisie hadn’t.

918. Audrey was a snob

918boar

Audrey was a snob. She was having a dinner party. This wasn’t any ordinary dinner party; for example, Doctor and Mrs Girling-Johnstone would be there. Doctor Girling-Johnstone was an important gynaecologist, and although his wife was merely a receptionist for a law firm, having them for dinner was quite a catch.

Then there was Mabel Donnithorpe and Denise MacPherson. Everyone knew they were an item, but everyone pretended they weren’t. They not only added a degree of mysteriousness to a dinner party, they added a touch of frightful modernity. Who these days would dream of staging a successful dinner party without at least a token nod towards the rainbow community?

Jane and Archie Simpson were also on the list. Rumour had it that Archibald was destined for a knighthood in the New Year. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Audrey had inadvertently invited an ordinary person to her dinner party and the next thing he was a knight of the realm?

Audrey planned the occasion meticulously. Only wild meats would be devoured – she was calling it her “Wild Dinner Party”. It was a fabulous joke; wild boar, wild venison, wild duck. Of course, the cost of getting wild meat was exorbitant, but who cared? And the work required in preparation; the soaking, for example, of the meats in icy salted water to remove the gamey taste.

And then the flowers! Audrey paid four times as much for the table flowers. They were perfect! Simply perfection in a vase.

The guests arrived.

“Oh, Audrey, I don’t know how you do it!” said Angela Girling-Johnstone. “This wild meat is perfection. It’s so ungamey in taste. You’d swear it came from domestic animals. Divine!”

“Oh, Audrey,” swooned Archie Simpson. “The table flowers are so perfect I was convinced they were artificial.”

“They’re not silk?” exclaimed Mabel Donnithorpe. “Audrey, you’re a genius!”

Audrey was pleased. The extra cost of making wild game taste like meat from the supermarket and natural flowers look synthetic was worth every penny.

840. Daily feast

840food

I don’t want to bore you, but I do want to tell you a little about what I’ve been eating. At least, it’s what I’ve been having for the main evening meal. It doesn’t include what I might eat at other times during the day.

On Monday it was ground shoulder of farm raised beef served over pearl barley and oven-roasted red potatoes. Served with a sauté of fresh pan-wilted spinach, fresh kidney beans, zucchini, green beans, roasted corn mash and a touch of garlic.

On Tuesday it was hormone-free baked chicken breast and ground New Zealand leg of lamb again with pearl barley, oven roasted Idaho russet potatoes, and fresh baked whole-wheat croutons. Served with a sauté of California carrots, broccoli, and yellow squash.

On Wednesday it was slow-roasted ground pork, farm raised hormone free turkey with long-grained rice. Served with sautéed cabbage, steamed butternut squash, California broccoli, and fine ground fresh grated carrots with fresh baked and toasted rye croutons with organic safflower oil.

You get my drift… The trouble is, it might look and sound nice enough, but it’s predictable as you can get. Every Monday is the same. Every Tuesday is the same. Every Wednesday is the same. Need I go on?

It sucks being a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in this household.