I received an invitation today to a party at the Peak Yoga Centre where i go once a week for bodily torture and soul restoration. And herein lies the dilemma.(It must be one that you face regularly but for me it is an irregular event at most.) That is the idea of expectation and of what the food says about you to other people. In my case, the invitation simply says, any food donations welcome. But is that really the case? A few minutes chat in the cafe reveals that there is an accepted view of vegetarianism - so there goes my tray of sausage rolls out of the window. The view about alcohol consumption is split, but as the ticket mentions mulled wine and mince pies, i guess i'm safe with a sherry trifle. On the other hand, i notice i'm the only one downing a latte while they all sip earl grey, so perhaps a coffee and Baileys cheesecake would get me double black marks.I decide to plump for the savory option as there are a lot of very lean and lithe people out there and a sweet indulgence might be met with derision. And then where do you go? India? which part? and how authentic could you make it when they've all been away practicing on hallowed ground and the nearest you've been is the Tandoori at the end of the road?
I leaf through my vegetarian cookery books, many of them worthy, wholesome and completely indigestible tomes from the 70's. Eventually i remember a wonderful tart with Aubergine, red pepper and tomato by Isidora Popovic, who started cooking eleven years ago with a Prince's Trust grant and a stall in Portobello Market. A woman after my own heart, and in whose footsteps i would like to tread. It is the sort of tart from which the taste explodes and, i hope, will prevent judgement from a fairly formidable group of people.
You make your Christmas Pudding today. I made mine a few weeks ago but i wish i'd seen your recipe first as the idea of dried figs, apricots and orange zest appeals greatly. I will add it to my Christmas note book with a note to try it next year. I've been following Delia's Christmas pudding recipe since her days as Queen of TV food watching. Some of her other recipes I've done-to-death and rather moved on from. I tend to stay clear of many chocolate recipes for the same reason. These days i make a lot of ordinary home-cooked fare because a lovely casserole and an apple and cinnamon crumble is what i want to eat; though the casserole may be game and the crumble with ginger ice cream.
Hope you made a wish. My children all had a stir and the little ones made wishes for their absent brothers and sister; and i wished them all back home safely.