10 Glorious Years

On September 30, 2014 by battenburgbelle

Astonishingly it has been a decade since we convened our book group – it all started back when our girls were at nursery school together and we remembered that we could read grown-up books, with chapters and without pictures if we wanted to. The gorgeous girls are dispersed amongst a number of local secondary schools now, but the five of us are still together, still reading books we might not have encountered without the suggestions of the group, still drinking copious amounts of wine and still laughing a lot.

The  Book Group

The Lovely Ladies of the Book Group

To celebrate this most auspicious of occasions, we invited the menfolk to join us – this has never happened before – but they were very well behaved, so we might well invite them to our 20th anniversary…

It was my turn to host, but I decided to share the load and everyone bought a contribution. Becky was chief stylist, bringing some SuperStyling glamour to the evening, with lots of silver balloons and general glitter & sparkle. Jenny was wearing her Silver Screen Suppers hat and was in charge of nibbles.


Joan Crawford’s Danti-Chips

She made us some Joan Crawford Danti-Chips – “a fancy salty snack involving tortillas, potted meat, cheese and gherkins. Yum yum”.  Missy B and her chum Lily were roped in to help chop gherkins and grate cheese. They did a great job and the Danti-Chips, slightly odd though they sounded, were very tasty. I preferred the beef flavour, although chicken was popular too.

Lindsey made a lovely oriental-ish bruschetta – really delicious. I failed to get a pic of those, but I have asked for the recipe and will post that.

Salmon coulibiac

Salmon coulibiac – aka Fish Pie

For the main course I made this salmon coulibiac, with an improvised fish-free version for our vegetarian guest. Pam, who was staying the night, before kindly made the little fish decorations for me and also a rather outlandishly large carrot for the veggie version (I put some parsnips in this and some stir-fried cabbage with garlic – cherry picking the bits I liked the sound of from a couple of recipes I unearthed on the internet). This Russian dish is a bit of a carb-fest but it seemed to go down well. As I prepared the pie, I remembered that Becky doesn’t like eggs and Jenny is not fond of mushrooms, but they both seemed to take my faux pas in their strides. Had to pop over the road to my neighbour to borrow the food processor to make some hollandaise sauce (it’s ridiculous that I don’t have one and I didn’t fancy risking making it by hand for this many people). Mary brought two Ottolenghi salads, one green bean-based, the other with warm and spicy chickpeas. Becky also brought a blue cheese, walnut and pear salad. All great accompaniments and enough for everyone to go home with some leftovers for their lunch on Saturday! 

Some salads

Some salads

During my ponderings over what to do for dessert, I got a bit over-excited and decided to make a cake in the shape of a book. I did buy a book shaped cake tin online, but when it arrived it was massive. So I decided to improvise and used a square tin and some strategic trimming. As I think I’ve commented before, fancy cake decorating is not really my thing, but I was quite pleased with the results (it was an old favourite, red velvet with cream cheese frosting). We added sparklers for a properly festive feel, but the only pic of those is at a weird angle…

Our anniversary cake

Our anniversary cake

We read Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe, which the ladies all found very entertaining. The guests who read it were rather underwhelmed. We also read Untold Stories by Alan Bennett (there is a connection between the books) – I know he’s a National Treasure and everything, but I found the diaries dull and (unusually for me) didn’t finish this one. 

I don’t think we did anything to dispel our reputation as the “bring a book drinking group”, but I’m pretty sure everyone had a good time.

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