Last week six friends from Nevada came to lunch. For they were going to the poetry reading at the college later that afternoon. We're always happy to host our Nevada friends. And we've known Katherine and Janice for a long long time!
Special friends call for a special table.
|Just before company arrives, the table is set and the food is ready.|
Anchored by an antique lace tablecloth.
|Spode transfer ware always sets a pretty table.|
Blue and white Spode, my newest wine glasses, damask napkins in silver rings, and, of course, a menu!
|The blue and white table made a cooling table on a triple digit day.|
If the flowers and dogs look familiar it's because they were my centerpiece for my Tuesday Lunch Bunch lunch. Good flowers always deserve a reprise!
And on the menu?
|A cup of soup is always a good starter or first course.|
My newest and favorite creamy tomato soup recipe. Made oh so simply with the French canned tomatoes (sigh, my last two jars) and a bit of cream and salt and pepper. So simple and oh, so good. Garnished with a sprig of thyme because the canned tomatoes were flavored with thyme!
|Vol Au Vent. A fancy name for a simple but elegant dish!|
Vol Au Vent. Which is French for chicken ala king in a puff pastry shell! It's easy and actually could be made with leftover chicken and it's really good. The shells are homemade -- from sheets of puff pastry (the puff pastry, however, was not made by me -- frozen puff pastry is a cook's best friend!)
And for dessert?
|Is there anything better than chocolate?|
Laura Calder's craggy chocolate cake. Not a pretty cake when it's unadorned!
|All lined up and ready for the guests in the dining room.|
However, topped with some Grand Marnier flavored whipped cream and some orange peel, it makes an impressive dessert.
|Six guests, six slices. None for the cook!|
And I've made flour less chocolate cakes before -- but this one, oh, this one is my absolutely all time favorite. I will be making this one again.
They stayed and visited and had another cup of coffee and then, they bid their adieus in order to get to the college so that they could get good seats for the poetry reading.
|The party . . . after|
A table to be cleared and the house made tidy before I headed to the college to hear the poets. And it's a good thing I did for the poets followed me home for tea!
CRAGGY CHOCOLATE CAKE
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
7 ounces butter, softened
4 eggs, separated
1 c. sugar
Heat the oven to 375. Line an 8 inch springform with parchment and grease and flour pan.
Melt the chocolate gently over a water bath, and then beat in the butter a piece at a time until smooth. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with 1/2 c. sugar until tick, pale and ribbony. In yet another bowl, beat the whites to soft peaks. Scatter over the remaining 1/2 c. sugar and beat to a stiff meringue.
Slowly whisk the chocolate mixture into the yolk mixture. Stir in a spoonful of beaten egg whites, then pour the chocolate mixture over the egg whites and gently fold together with a spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 50 minutes.
Remove from the oven. Run a knife around the outside edge, then let sit until cool. It will sink down and top with crack, appealingly. Serve with a drift of slightly sweeter whipped cream, flavored with vanilla, rum or orange flower water (I used Grand Marnier)
It's Thursday and I'm joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.