I don’t usually like the eulogies at funerals, but the tributes to her were beautiful. Moving. Joyful. Her daughter spoke of how she had brought them up – how she used to say, “Let us have fun!” and how she taught her five daughters and one son the waltz and foxtrot, how she used to try new recipes constantly, how she loved going to every new movie with her sisters. How she lived life to the full. The main celebrant (priest) at the Mass spoke of how we should all move with the times, keep up with our children and grandchildren – as Auntie Myrtle had. How we need to live the gift that God gives us to the fullest (“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” – John 10:10).
There could have been no better reminder on a birthday.
New Year’s resolutions are notoriously difficult to keep – but only if you pick idiotically painful ones.I resolved this year that I would gather the people I value and love around me often.
I resolved that I would drop my stress levels considerably over entertaining. I would feed my family and friends whatever was at hand; they would come for the company and not for the food and drink. They have not proved me wrong.
I resolved to reconcile myself (okay, talked myself down) to ordering in, agreeing to potlucks and getting a whole lot of stuff on the table that I could prepare beforehand. I now have lots of disposable cutlery, a well-stocked bar, a new attitude… Kevin still likes to make batches of cocktails through the evening, but I usually just sit and snack, and contribute loudly to the (somewhat drunken) singing that breaks out as the evening progresses and the pina coladas keep coming (I’m still given to occasionally leaping up and filling bowls and clearing glasses at odd times, but I’m very doing very well, thank you!). I think of these as wonderful evenings, and anything is an excuse for one. Try me and you’ll see…
|Some of my new crockery from Crawford Market|
I invited my friends from the office to come over to bring in my birthday. I grabbed the chance to blow a whole lot of money on the most gorgeous white serving bowls and platters from Crawford Market; some in very, very good-quality melamine, some in oven-proof ceramic.
|The table of appetisers - recipes follow|
|The saucy sausages|
|The Goa sausage tartlets|
The Hot Corn Dip from Our Best Bites went down particularly well. It’s a great dish for your party foods repertoire.
HOT CORN DIPAdapted from Our Best Bites
|Hot Corn Dip - Our Best Bites|
· 2 tbsp butter
· 3½ cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
· ½ tsp salt
· 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
· 1 cup finely-chopped onions
· ½ cup finely-chopped red peppers
· ¼ cup chopped spring onions (green and white parts)
· 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (I used about six bits from a jar)
· 2 tsp minced garlic
· ½ cup mayonnaise (or less)
· 200g cheddar, grated (use as much as you’re comfortable with)
· ¼ tsp cayenne (I used chilli flakes)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt one tablespoon of the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the corn kernels, salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the kernels turn deep golden brown, about five minutes (if you’re using frozen corn, it probably won’t get golden brown). Transfer to a bowl.Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the skillet. Add the onions and bell peppers and cook, stirring often, until the onions are wilted, about two minutes. Add the spring onions, jalapeno bits, and garlic and cook, stirring, for two minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Add to the bowl with the corn.
Add the mayo, cayenne pepper (or chilli flakes) and half the grated cheese and mix well.
Spoon into shallow baking dishes and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Serve hot with jaali (ruffled) wafers or tortilla chips.
More great dips (I can say so myself, since I adapt from other people’s recipes!) coming up…
MAIN PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY MICROSOFT.COM