This weekend in East Anglia:
- We took my parents out to Delia Smith's Restaurant on the grounds of Norwich City Football Club where she is director. For starters we ate: a plate of Suffolk salami, Parma ham and chorizo served with marinated mushrooms and tomatoes; baked salmon with green herb mayonnaise; and caramelised onion and goats cheese tartlet. For mains we ate: Greek lamb with gigantes beans and pilau rice served with Greek salad; roast chicken breast with grape and herb stuffing served with buttery new potatoes with green beans and glazed carrots; and grilled haddock fillet with a topping of coriander and lime tartare sauce and melted cheese served with minted new potatoes and green beans. We finished it all off with: vanilla cream terrine with raspberries and blackcurrent coulis; peaches baked in Marsala with mascarpone cream; and creamy sheeps' milk cheese - Berkswell - from Neal's Yard Dairy served with quince paste, homemade walnut bread and biscuits.
We were absolutely stuffed by the end of it but the food was so good, the environment a little like a glossy 5-star Manhattan hotel restaurant, and the service so attentive that the evening was a perfect one. To top it all off, the staff gave my parents a congratulations card hand-signed by Delia herself. My parents were over the moon.
- We watched the family home movies I'd transferred from Super 8 cine film to DVD as their anniversary present and enjoyed their running commentary.
- Inspired by these old films, I've started taking little 30 second clips myself using my digital camera and did alot of filming of M and my parents, much to their annoyance!
- I caught a glimpse of the hundreds of love letters my parents exchanged on wafer thin blue aerogramme paper when my parents were courting long distance during the 60s - my dad in London and my mum in Calcutta. Unfortunately, I can't read them because they are in Bengali, however my father will slowly translate some of them for me. They are private correspondence, so I will have to content myself with a heavily edited few.
- We enjoyed my mum's home cooking. Usually it's a good curry or four, but this time she made a deliciously aromatic Moroccan lamb and fig tagine with toasted almond couscous.
- We enjoyed a really long lie-in on Sunday morning as well as several long hours chilling in my parents' garden with conversation and the papers and admiring my dad's perfectly trimmed hedges! The trouble with slowing down and doing nothing is that you allow yourself to realise how damn tired you are! In London, we're so busy racing around we hardly let exhaustion get a peek in.
- We spent the 2 hour train journey back to London planning our week's meals (this is one of our favourite conversation pieces on a Sunday!) - seafood laksa, Chinese vegetable curry, and Szechuan numbing hot chicken - and watching David Bowie (surely a new album must be due soon?!?) and Red Hot Chili Peppers videos on my iPod.
- When we returned to our own home, M cooked spaghetti with a tomato, fresh anchovy and caper sauce and we settled in to watch Pen-Ek Ratanaruang's languid yet thrilling Invisible Waves on DVD about a chef's assistant's affair with his boss's restless wife which has deadly consequences. We first saw this Thai movie at last year's London Film Festival and were eager to see it again.
- Another lovely though a little different weekend over. Sigh...