Dinner with the man upstairs

My family, as you may have realised, are not like other families. Not many families live in a school. We have access to many exciting sports facilities….for those under the height of 5ft, a large library complete with spinning wheel (no idea why)… containing books suitable for those aged 5-13 and of course access to kitchens enabling catering for large numbers….but they would have to eat in the school canteen. Of course it’s not just the school that makes my family ‘special’, the inability to sit still, workaholicism and constant need for all four of us to simultaneously talk over one another is probably our defining feature. So I shouldn’t really have been surprised that upon being welcomed home from a 2week tour and a journey home that totalled roughly 13hours I would not be encouraged to rest, but instead be informed that I would be attending dinner in the man who lives upstairs’ apartment for a meet and greet with some new colleagues of my father’s. I cannot believe how successful I was in staying awake during this meal, but it probably had something to do with how tasty the food was. Whilst I try not to review my friend’s cooking for fear of either offending them or inflating their ego too much, I was so impressed with the balance of the meal (and the very nice wine with it) I thought I’d describe what we ate.

The reason the dinner party worked so well was that the man who lives upstairs let the ingredients speak for themselves, always advocated in my book. We started with toasted sourdough bread, topped with broad beans, muddled with mint, a hint of garlic and lemon. This dish really let the broad beans shine, in fact my only criticism would be that it lacked a little seasoning but that may be because I have a palate for strong flavours. To be honest the only change is I would have served it sprinkled with a few crumbs of goats cheese, this would have dulled the occasional strong raw garlic flavour, but otherwise very fresh tasting and delicious.

The main was so good. I could not refuse seconds. One of my biggest weaknesses is chorizo. I always feel you can’t go wrong when slow roasting. But as someone who wouldn’t choose pork on a menu, this slow roasted pork with beans and chorizo was exceptional. Not spicy or overpowering just rich in meaty, salty, flavours with the meat that melted in the mouth and comforting butter bean texture. (The biggest compliment I could give was eating second portions of this as I had practically lived off a diet of beans for the past two weeks in Brazil and was pretty sick of them by then). This was served with pots of dauphinoise, always a winner, but I was deeply satisfied that the texture was right and the dauphinoise were full of flavour. People can always forget to flavour side dishes. I had to forgo second portions of the potatoes as I wasn’t really sure what meal I was eating, having had what felt like 4 dinners and 2 breakfasts in the past 48hours.

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The dessert was thankfully fairly light after the hearty main. A sort of blackberry marscapone custard served with Andretti biscuits. The best thing about this dish was that the sweetness and richness of the custard was off set by the tangibles and freshness of the whole blackberries studding the dish. Blackberries picked fresh…..from waitrose. This final dish really sent me to sleep and I excused myself to try and regain about 4days of lost sleep. Full marks for a well balanced and flavoursome meal!

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