Saturday, 24 November 2012

The 8 year birthday

MK turned 8 earlier this month and Saturday it is time to celebrate with the big family. Having 18 for dinner in T's smallish flat is a test, but one that has been successfully passed on earlier occasions and is passed well yet again.
MK is a fickle girl when it comes to pasta. T assumes that what MK wants for her birthday dinner is pasta with homemade pesto for the primo. When T seeks to verify the menu for the evening he expects that it will be business as usual. But MK states that she wants pasta carbonara. Now, this is a problem for so many reasons. One of them being that K and T are not in agreement as to how carbonara should be made or even the very essence of the dish. As a consequence, T brushes aside the wishes of the birthday child and reinstates pesto as the primo of MKs birthday dinner. Incidentally, MK has done this before. For a whole year she would wish only for Spaghetti alle vongole, but on arriving in San Remo after a year away from Italy, she switched to pesto and that has been the preferred pasta dish for the last three years. That is until last Friday.
The pesto is made in the Ligurian style that we experienced this summer in Tellaro. The minor variation is that small cubes of potatoes are cooked with the pasta and served as part of the dish. They add a little sweetness to the dish.
The next dish is pork roast rubbed with fennel seeds served with baked parsnips, fennel, apple, potatoes and carrots. Since we posted this dish initially we have made a successful variation which we repeat today: Rather than adding wine (champagne) we substitute it with apple juice and water. This gives not only some acidity but also some sweetness. (again!)
Also we use another piece of the (organic) pork. Pork loin, wich requires about 2 hours in the oven. Thefore we also had to cook the meat and vegetables separately. The vegetables only need app. 1 hour. We added some of the good liquids from the roast about half way through.
The guests are pleasantly appreciative of the efforts and we are also rather content ourselves.
Serving wine for the big family cannot follow a strict plan, so wine is placed on the table in rapid succession. What we aim to do is to have something with a little acidity to handle the richness of the pork. So we try various chiantis. The Isola e Olena 2008 and 2009 are tasted. The 09 is preferred. It seems more balanced. Where the 08 is more fruity, the 09 is less so and has a note of lactic acid. We also try the Ser Lapo 09 from Mazzei. This is quite nice and rather different. The wine is more oaky from the maturing in oak casks.
In conclusion the chiantis do very well with the dish. Before that we have had some various whites:  Viognier from Pesquie and Chateau Ferran 2005 from Graves.
In the end it is time for the traditional birthday cake. In Denmark that is a layered cake (Lagkage). For this occasion we make to two types: The first has whipped cream mixed with raspberries and finely chopped dark chocolate. The other has cream mixed with banana and crushed macaroons.
The cakes are served accompanied by the singing of the traditional Danish birthday song and then comes the moment of truth: MK has to blow out the candles! Myth has it that the number of candles still burning signifies the number of boyfriends the birthday child has. Much to T's satisfaction, MK blows out all the candles.
The evening ends on the dance floor where children and adults are equally excited about the Wii dance contest. Even to the extent that commotion occurs due to the close quarters, but that cannot change the fact that this has been a successful birthday with big family.

No comments:

Post a Comment