In 2009 the extended Lark family was completely spoilt for family celebrations. We had 18ths, 21sts, a 50th, a 75th and a daughter's wedding. This year seems meagre by comparison. Our 30th wedding anniversary falls on St Cecilia's Day and we are expecting our first grandchild in August. Great causes for rejoicing of course but not really enough for a family who like to meet up a lot and who like their food. So we celebrated Chris's 76th with a Sunday lunch barbecue. All 4 of our kids came, 2 partners, my mum drove down from Northamptonshire (she is 82 in August so that will be another party) and my sister and nieces. None of my family are big drinkers (I have to make up for them all) so we were really thrilled that the eldest son, who works in advertising/marketing, brought us several cases of the new flavours of J2O. These have been designed to work with food instead of red and white wines. The jury is out on this but as they were free we're not complaining!
We had garlic bread, crisps and dips to start and then the usual suspects made it to the grill. Costco burgers and sausages, and chicken thighs marinated in Nando's peri peri sauce. There is no point in doing anything else for my lot at a barbecue. This is what they want, and anyway they're waiting for the puddings! I didn't go mad on the salads either because they tend to hang around for a long time afterwards. But Costco have started selling tubs of those little balls of mozzarella which were lovely with some good tomatoes, tiny Greek basil leaves and olive oil. A big pan of Jersey Royals (an amazing price of £1 a kilo in Tesco), bought coleslaw and various bits of greenery completed the main course. My mum, having just returned from Amalfi, was particularly pleased with the buffalo mozzarella. (And she'd bought me a small bottle of Limoncello too).
And so to the desserts. Nothing I hadn't made before but then why change a successful combination? There was Squidgy Chocolate Torte and Mascarpone and Marmalade ice cream from the BBC Good Food website. For the record I don't think I shall make the ice cream again other than to use up marmalade. It wasn't really worth the faff. It tastes lovely but the mascarpone adds very little.
As promised Anne brought Nigella's Ice-Cream Cake. This is a really big hit with twenty-somethings but is a bit too sweet for me.
And finally Crunchy Lemon Pie, trashy but divine. By Monday evening there was nothing left of any of the puds. By the way, I didn't deviate at all from any of the recipes.
Happy 76th Birthday Chris! Now to find some Limoncello recipes . . .