This is most likely going to be my last post for a month or so. On a purely practical level, we’re moving in a couple of weeks and I’ve been told firmly and repeatedly that my normal technique of shoving my possessions in boxes and supermarket carrier bags as they are being loaded into a van is not going to cut it. We seem to have accumulated an awful lot of “stuff” in the last five or six years and most of my weekends are currently spent knee deep in bin bags and cardboard boxes rather than flour and butter, as I would prefer.
There is something rather disconcerting about sitting down for dinner with a group of people who have been your friends for a decade (or more). That’s 10 years of friendship, right there!
There’s a special bond that you have with people who have seen you at your absolute worst – as my friends from university most certainly have. Through heartbreak and hangovers and all the angst of trying to work out what kind of person you are, we’ve always been able to go back and pick up where we left off. When one of number announced that she moving home to Spain for the next year, we couldn’t let her leave the country without marking the occasion in a suitable manner.
And for us, that meant cocktails, girl time and a 2am viewing of Clueless in our pyjamas while eating ice cream (and drinking water – sometimes there’s no getting away from the fact that you’re not 18 anymore).
I like to start these kind of occasions with a jug of something fruity and boozy. Quite apart from anything, it’s easy for everyone to help themselves which means that I avoid going into my slightly scary hostess mode, watching people’s glasses like a hawk so I can offer them a refill the moment they take their final sip.
I became rather partial to iced green tea when we were in California – I don’t really know why as it’s not like it really tastes of anything much. But if you add some rum, plenty of lime juice, a few sprigs of mint and a touch of sugar and you have a fairly dangerous drink.
To go alongside the mojitos, I made a few of pan-Asian canapes (a fancy way of saying that I made whatever I felt like with scant consideration for the fundamentals of any particular cuisine):
Carrot and poppadom bites (a recipe from my friend Katherine that involves grated carrot, spring onions and chutney)
I found the original recipe on the kitchn. The quantities given are for one glass. In order to make a pitcher, I used the juice of 6 – 8 limes, a couple of teaspoons of sugar and sprigs of mint, two cups of green tea and as much rum as I felt like, tasting as I was going so that I got the balance right. My later pitchers were definitely stronger as I became more generous with the rum but also sweeter as I got bored of juicing limes.
We went to Newcastle last weekend for a slightly belated celebration of my birthday. We both skived off work early on Friday afternoon to catch a train that would get us there in plenty of time for dinner,such are our priorities.
I always think that if you want to see England – proper English England – then you should take a train. While my boyfriend worked, I sat with my nose pressed up against the glass watching as the patchwork of fields and rolling hills flew past. The sky seemed to go on forever. I’d turn to my boyfriend from time to time and excitedly announce that we’d just gone past a flock of tiny sheep.
I’m pretty sure that I had a whole post written, in my head at least, to go alongside these hot cross buns but now it’s Tuesday afternoon and I’m sitting on the balcony of out hotel room in La Jolla in the afternoon sun and I can’t really think of anything that I want to say.