We had good company tonight, and good pasta to go with it.
Ian, Lisa and Caroline came over for dinner, and we all caught the bus to New Farm from Toowong together. So there was no time for fussy cleaning up or doing dinner preparations before people arrived. But we’d planned for this, and I am growing less concerned about mess as I get older, so there was no drama. We arrived, cracked open beers, and set out olives, brie, grilled eggplant and crusty bread, to sit and chat for an hour.
Then I headed into the kitched to make the main meal. Two big pots of water on the boil, one for pasta and one for green beans. Some cherry tomatoes halved and put in the oven for a quick roast. Wash a big bag of baby spinach, flake about 300 g of smoked salmon fillets, take the zest and juice of one lemon, chop a bunch of dill. Put 500 g of pasta on to cook. When it comes off, drain it and put the pan back on the heat. Add the spinach, wilt for a minute, then add back the pasta, together with the salmon, lemon, dill, a couple of spoonfuls of baby capers and several spoonfuls of creme fraiche. Stir over low heat until the creme fraiche is melted. While doing this, chuck the green beans in to cook for 3 minutes, then drain and refresh under cold water. Pull the tomatoes out of the oven and dress with garlic oil, salt, pepper and the leaves from a bunch of oregano. Serve up the pasta, and on the side the roast tomatoes and the blanched beans. Open the third (or fourth?) bottle of wine and dig in. Pretty good for less than 20 minutes’ cooking.
Afterwards, retire to the lounge room for more wine and, a little later, gelati. Think about how lovely your life is and how much you like your friends. Enjoy.