I’ve been a huge fan of NZ cook Annabel Langbein, for many years. In fact, I first met her at her Cooking School back in the old Strand building in 1990s Auckland, and later when I moved to the UK I drove 20 kms just to buy her cookbook from Waitrose.
Yup, I’m a fangirl.
So, when I was invited to #ShareTheLovePotLuck I thought it would be really appropriate to do so at our first housewarming event in our new home. The past month has been so incredibly busy and at times fraught with moving, it was lovely to be able to send out the invitation to come over and eat with us, and finally breathe a big sigh of relief.
Moving was rough.
I hate moving and I especially hate that this is the fourth time we’ve moved in the three years since coming back to NZ. The only upside was that we were helped by a band of wonderful friends who made meals and helped us with the cleaning and the shifting, and generally by helping us see the funny side as we filled (to the brim) a massive skip and said our farewells to Amaranth Cottage.
Moving was made even more stressful by being incredibly busy with work, even to the point of delivering a major presentation at breakfast on the day of our move. But, we survived. And now the days of rooms filled with cardboard boxes are behind us.
So on Saturday, the first ‘free’ weekend night we’ve had, a few friends came around for potluck dinner. Amazingly, feeding 12 people is relatively easy if they help by bringing potluck. I made the Chicken Marbella and the Lamb and White Bean Cassoulet.
Both were really easy and I popped them in the oven whilst supervising Miss Fliss as she prepared the Chocolate Slice.
I realised, a bit late in the piece that the cans of white beans I thought I had were actually lentils, so my version looks a bit ‘mushier’ than Annabel’s but it still tasted really yummy. That’s the sort of food I like; so easy and flexible you can pretty much use what you have without scouring the shops for some ‘eye of newt’ or some other rare, precious ingredient.
We also made the Quiche which the teenager ate (even though she hates eggs) the chocolate slice and the Ruby Red Salad. Love that salad! It’s so vibrant on a winter plate and I’m still eating it two days later for lunch. It doesn’t wilt and I think it tastes even better after macerating in the orange juice for a while.
One of our guests made a beautiful pumpkin pie from the book, which was just gorgeous.
It was a great evening, and afterwards I must say I felt ‘landed’ in this new place. It’s always sad to say goodbye to a home where you had many happy memories but sometimes we can’t see what’s best for us. This home is smaller, more compact and very sunny. I can already see that it is going to be easier to take care of and it has a really lovely atmosphere, not to mention an ancient 1970’s wood burner which still works!
This morning, spurred on by attending the Heart Foundation High Tea yesterday, I went out for a walk to the Marina. Guess what? I found a beautiful sunrise to help me truly feel positive and at home. I feel like a yacht that has come into port for a while. I may have limped in through the channel, but now I am resting on my berth awaiting a bit of a sluice and a rejig before I set off on my next adventure.
NB/ Please note, this post was sponsored in that the cookbook was supplied by Annabel Langbein. The views, experiences expressed in this post are however independent and all my own.