a rare, fancy breakfast
It's been a while. The last few weeks I've been cooking my dependable standbys that get me through busy, tiring days - fettuccine alfredo, beef burritos, ciabatta pizza (something I'll post about later). They're starchy, meaty, and delicious. But that gets SO old, so when I came up with the idea to have a potluck dinner with my graduating friends I decided I'd go for something that says SPRING.
I had to cook without meat, dairy, or gluten because of my friends' restrictions. I spent ages considering meals that had expensive ingredients that would require me to buy things from the health store that I'd never use again. So I settled for fancy salad - a time consuming potato salad that had me do two things I'd never done before - pickle and blanch vegetables. I think a good barometer to see if a dish is worth the fuss is whether you would sacrifice a beautiful spring day to make it. In this case, not worth it. It was a pretty good salad, although you wouldn't have known I spent so long making it.
For drinks and dessert I made Magic Juice and a gluten free chocolate cake. They were pretty effortless. I used my favorite gin, Hendrick's (Scottish of course), and mixed it with freshly squeezed lemonade, an orange, strawberries, cucumber, and mint. Fruity, addicting, and pretty even when served in an Ikea tupperware. Sooooo sophisticated.
Have you ever baked a gluten free cake before? I was wary about the texture as I used ground almonds instead of flour. Having slightly underbaked it too, it came out fluffy, almost like a chocolate marshmallow.
You can see my friend's showstopping meringue with peanut butter sauce next to my humble cake. Isn't it so pretty? I loved it. S also made a fresh salad with roast vegetables. I covered M's harissa stir fry over both salads. We had Parisian rose tea with the cakes... beautiful. It was a seriously light and gorgeous meal. Thanks to you both.
It was really important to me to bring nice things for my friends (pictured below) as they're two of the five people who read this site. In St Andrews it seems like friend groups are solidified halfway through first year. Past then it's hard to make new friends or become apart of different groups. It sucks. Strangely, I met these two at the start of my third year and we hit it off. And frankly, I think they're great. The three of us, along with S' flatmate, had a fabulous night. I was there for hours, talking and laughing and gorging.
At one point I laughed so hard I cried. It was because of this heathen:
That night was the night of May dip, that weird tradition where we run into the frigid North Sea at sunrise on May 1 to 'cleanse' ourselves of our academic sins. I wavered about doing it again but eventually decided to. IT WAS SO COLD. I've been recovering from my bed since, all stuffy and sniffly. I've lost two days of revision to May dip. So dead.
Read more for the recipes...
Spring salad with new potatoes and mustard vinaigrette - Smitten Kitchen
Chocolate olive oil cake - Nigella Lawson
Magic juice - Design Sponge