A lovely friend is in Cape Town for six months on contract so I invited her to be my first real guinea pig – as in, to have dinner with me at my own house. Rob was also invited, but obviously has eaten here many times – the difference is, he was always the one doing the cooking!
So, as I chatted to Melinda during the week about how to find my house and the best route, etc, I remembered to ask if there was anything she didn’t eat. She reminded me that she is a vegan. Oh sweet cheeses – I’d forgotten that! What she didn’t realise is that it was brave enough of me to have offered to cook for her in the first place, let alone having to cater for someone who doesn’t even eat eggs. She also doesn’t eat mushrooms or tomatoes (whole) but that’s not the vegan side of her, those are just her personal dislikes.
I was desperate. I turned to the interwebs and googled my fingers sore, until – ta da – Jamie bloody Oliver! What a genius he is. With a few minor alterations, I served lentil tabbouleh and stuffed butternut, with french bread on the side. I couldn’t find puy lentils so used black ones (they were perfect) and substituted finely chopped spinach leaves from my own garden for the tomatoes. I also couldn’t find chestnuts for the butternut stuffing (chestnuts, seriously, wtf?) so used slivered almonds instead. A couple of bottles of Nederburg Baronne and, really, it was a lovely meal and a lovely evening.
I think I’m almost ready for a full table of people now (i.e. six) so I’ll be giving some thought to that this week….heaven knows there are enough friends I owe a return invitation to, in all my years of non-cooking :)
*Only South African readers will get this reference, sorry.