If the success of a party can be measured by the size of the hangover it engenders, then I can confirm that Heather and John’s farewell barbecue was a fine one.
It was one of those rare occasions when, as soon as we arrived, my children simply melted away into the mêlée of exciting older children, trampolines, garden toys and someone else’s bedroom to trash. I didn’t see some of them for hours on end, and every now and then I had to totter around the garden and house to do a headcount.
How silly I was to worry about toned buttocks, I had forgotten that there would be so many members of the Armed Forces elite at the barbecue. Whether I had toned buttocks or not was neither here nor there; everywhere you looked there was a visual feast of male and muscled bodies.
Now I normally avoid drinking Pimms on the grounds that anything that tastes like squash and can slip down without touching the sides, is bound to lead to double vision trouble. Yet I’d had a rather tough week – raw sewage in the cellar anyone? – so threw caution to the winds. It was after about tumbler number 3 of Pimms, when the whisper went around that the charming gentlemen who was so assiduously re-filling our glasses, was concocting a lethal mix of Pimms and Gin up in the kitchen. Unscrupulous rogue, no wonder he left so early, in a very sober manner.
Fearing a hangover, I switched crazily between red wine and champagne. I’m not sure this was the best game plan. My children started to multiply before my very eyes, there goes my boy…gosh, since when did I have conjoined boys?
At one lovely moment during the evening, I found myself in the kitchen with a cackle of wives. An innocent little comment from myself was like breaching the dam, and we erupted with excited hoots of laughter
Me: ‘So – ahem - who’s the guy with the amazing body?’
Clearly I had not been alone in my perusal of this man and out tumbled the information;
Wife 1: ‘He’s got a flat in the 7th arrondissement, he said I’d like it!’Wife 2: ‘I think he’s single!’
Wife 3: ‘Did you feel his handshake? He nearly cracked my fingers’
Wife 4: ‘If a woman wore a shirt that tight, bulging at the buttons, you can imagine the looks she’d get’.
It’s true, he had no-one but himself to blame. You know, I can really see why men ogle women, ogling is actually lots of fun!
The rest of the soiree passed in a blissful haze. I was obviously suffering from ‘fabulous breast envy’ at some point, because I have a close-up shot of a lovely cleavage on my camera. No head or neck, just a big old zoom on the cleavage. I shall study it and make notes.
And when it was time for tea, I’m pretty sure I ate some of these veggie kebabs. Very good they were too. If you take these to your next barbecue, do remember to drink in moderation.
I will take this opportunity to raise a glass to Heather and John, and to wish them lots of happiness as they wend their way back to Blighty. My one regret is that I didn't get to see the naked trampolining for which they are famed. Maybe at the next one?
H&J's Veggie Kebabs (Click here for tips on how to avoid cross-contamination)
Another handy dish that can be cooked in the oven for fear of clogging up the carnivorous barbecue. These can be marinaded overnight, then assembled on the day. You can also make the Spinach Pesto (for the marinade) a couple of days ahead and keep it in the fridge, or freeze it. This recipe makes about 12 / 14 kebabs. The choice of veggies is really up to you, but I used the following:
10 new potatoes
4 small sweet potatoes
3 orange peppers
1 green pepper
1 yellow pepper
18 button mushrooms
20 cherry tomatoes (about 500g)
250g shallots (or about 3 big spanish onions)
a pack of skewers
Olive oil for drizzling
A sprinkle of chilli flakes if you desire
For the marinade:
3 heaped tbsps of Baby Spinach Pesto, or I have found this pesto, (it is gluten and dairy-free, but note it does contain cashew nuts)
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard (gluten-free, here's one)
1 big beef tomato
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- Chop the new potatoes in half and steam them for about 9 minutes, then set them aside. You want them soft enough to push a skewer through, but not soft enough to split when you do so
- Peel the new potatoes, chop them into chunks and steam them for about 7 minutes
- Chop all the peppers into large chunks
- Peel the shallots, and use them whole if they are small, or split them down the middle if they are big (or cut the onions into large chunks)
- Wipe the button mushrooms and remove the stalks
- Put all the ingredients for the marinade into a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Then tip the marinade into a roasting tin
- Place all the vegetables into the roasting tin and stir so that they are all coated in marinade. It's probably easiest to use your hands. If you are doing this the night before, cover with foil until you need it
- To assemble, spend a pleasant half an hour threading the veg in various colour combinations onto the skewers. Sprinkle the chilli flakes over the top if you wish
- If you are cooking these in the oven, heat oven to 180/190 degrees C. Drizzle your kebabs with olive oil. Put a cooling rack on top of a baking tray and place the kebabs on top (they drip and you don't want to have to clean the oven do you?!). Put them in the oven, remembering to turn them after about 15 mins (keep checking though)
- If you are cooking these on a barbecue, hooray! Just make sure you drizzle them with oil before cooking or they can be a tad dry
- These are good served with Salsa, mmmmmm, yummy.
© Pig in the Kitchen 2007