For those who read my last blog (you can see old posts at the top right of this page) you will recall me mentioning our signature dish for our Valentines Dinner was going to be an Iced Watermelon & Orange Soup. The trick is to make sure it has enough body to it, because otherwise you are simply serving a bowl of fruit juice.
I also put in a small drop (well, maybe a large drop) of vodka, just to give it that 'there's something I can taste' factor.
I think we nailed it!
The starters were 'Mushroom & Bacon on Bruschetta', cooked with white wine and cream and visible on the right and background below, and a Smoked Salmon Pate - the pink blobby bits on the other plates. I made a bit of a mistake with the Pate as I put in a little too much Greek Yogurt when blending it, and it came out a little loose - maybe more a mousse than a pate, but it tasted really yummy. Very smokey flavor, with a hint of lemon in the background.
In my last blog I mentioned that I was a little worried that we didn't have enough fresh spinach to use for stuffing the chicken breasts, and as it turned out, we didn't manage to find any.
I told one of the cooks - Smart, that we would have to use rape for Valentines Day, and I think he misunderstood me, because his smile was a wonder to behold! Ear-to-ear stuff. When I explained it was the vegetable rape that we were going to use, he still carried on smiling, though somewhat bashfully . . .
And how did the 'Chicken Breast stuffed with Rape & Feta' turn out? Not too bad, actually. We served it with a yogurt sauce, and my only concern was the color as the rape tended to bleach a little in the cooking. But it tasted yummy - and way more African in flavor than spinach, I think.
Quite often there is a temptation to 'overkill' the decor for a special meal - and we didn't. No need to worry about putting too much stuff on the table when you have a backdrop like this, is there? This photo was taken during the afternoon table lay-up. A nice clean and uncluttered table.
This was the dining room, locked, loaded and ready for shooting bears. In the end we catered for around 50 folk, and pushed a few beads of sweat in the kitchen.
And what was the most beautiful sight in the whole Lodge? Well the chocolates and wine in the rooms looked good, the dining room looked good, the food looked good, but without doubt the most appealing sight was . . . .
Yup - the ladies toilet, with fresh white roses. Looking really snappy! Maybe next year I'll think about serving the dinner in there instead?
(You can see where the bush babies - also called 'night apes', or 'pookies', come in during the night. They have dislodged some of the thatching where they come in and out. I think they come for fresh water).
I hope you had a fantastic Valentines, and spent time with the special folk in your life.
Have a great day.