Sunday 26 December 2010

On the first day of Christmas...

It rained incessantly. The Technical Department gave me a copy of Alain Ducasse's weighty tome on pasta and vegetables (so, the unsubtle hints dropped at the start of December weren't entirely a waste of time), and we all went off to Mensano for a lunch-to-end-all-lunches: generous antipasti, of cheeses, crostini, frittata, prosciutto crudo, and onion salsa; a capon soup, with tagliatelle; papardelle, with an excellent duck sauce; bollito misto, of chicken, beef, and pork (some began to weaken at this stage....but we carried on regardless); roast pork, with a side dish of sformato di gobbo (which I was under the impression meant 'dwarf', but clearly not), and finally, a dolce di natale, which in fact resembled half a house-brick, topped with some rather sweet custard and assorted bits of colourful fruit(I've talked elsewhere and at length about the italian inability to understand desserts, beyond zabaglione and tiramisu...)

Lunch eventually over, we emerged into darkened streets, that were further obscured by a heavy mist which had gathered as we were at table. As we walked through the deserted village, christmas lights emerged eerily from the mist, and rainwater dripped heavily from the eaves. En route back to the car, we passed by Mensano's beautiful and very plain romanesque church; empty and candlelit, the crusader capitals brooded from on top of the heavy, squat columns which line the nave.

And then, back home. To an evening of Pasolini on DVD - we watched 'The Canterbury Tales', which was an appropriately decadent ending to a thoroughly self-indulgent day.

Tonight's dinner (we'll be eight):

Flamiche (made with fresh leeks from the garden)

Capon, boned and roast, with Pommes Maximes.

Crepes Suzettes.