Monday, December 29, 2008

Reviving the dining room

The dining room in the house in Constantia has been taken over by my father and turned into an office larger than the study which was designed for the purpose. The heavy stinkwood table and yellow wood riempie chairs have become repositories for piles of legal briefs and bristling stacks of sharp pencils, as well as a special cushion for his white cat Spook.

For the small, family Christmas dinner this year we banished the books and returned the room to itself. Flowers from the garden and lots of candles, the old Waterford crystal hauled out for its annual airing, the silver unwrapped and placed on clean white damask.

Absurd, perhaps in the light of photographs in the newspaper, bombings and burnings, cholera and Gaza...

Roses, nicotiana, jasmine, fuchsia, night-scented gnidia, purple heliotrope, agapanthus, and light.

The menu:

Green asparagus veloute in Woodstock custard glasses
Prawn and mushroom gratin
Nigel Slater's roast leg of lamb with potatoes
Nigella's lamb shoulder with pomegranate
Peas and asparagus
Passion fruit mousse
Chocolate profiteroles

Champagne to start - Piper Heidsieck, NV
Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon, 1999

Below, earlier in the day, my mom preparing retro scallop shells with mushrooms and prawns to be placed under the broiler and gratinated with a vermouth sauce...

Nigel Slater's lamb roasted over a bed of potatoes.

The best, crispiest potatoes.

Me, making choux pastry for the profiteroles per the Brothers Roux.

Said profiteroles. Notice ancient radio.

With chocolate sauce...

Passion fruit ready for Georges Blanc's mousse.

Mousse into moulds...

About to be eaten.

The Christmas guest. Better than Elijah.

Sister-in-law Merle and niece Rebecca...

Post party at the kitchen table: my father, helpfully cleaning up.


  1. Oooh, what a table! And I like your father's resolute, unselfish help at cleaning up. I can see a cat ready for backup!

  2. This all looks and probably tastes, beyond words. So delicious, my mouth is watering. Love the kitty Spook in the last pic!


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