There are about 20 or so of us who have been there for years and, on the whole, I don't mix with socially other than at swim time. In fact I know none of their surnames. Even Lulu's whose feast this was. (Actually I have seen her surname written down and it something like Tamagotchi, which made me laugh).
Lulu and her family fled from Iraq over 25 years ago and have lived in a splendid house in West London ever since. She seems, from her conversation, to entertain every night of the year and is forever being descended upon by Iraqi/Iranian friends and relatives. Lulu is a bit good at cooking and so I was delighted when she invited us swimmers (and a few gymmers) for supper last night.
In truth all I can do is add some photographs and a few comments. It was bloody amazing.
The Persian rice with saffron and nuts tasted even better than it looks. And she makes it in exactly the same Tefal rice cooker that I have. Must get recipe.
I forgot to take a picture of the tabbouleh but it was sensational. There were kibbeh too. And a fantastic bean/chickpea/lentil salad which she had derived, made and multiplied from the ingredients on the side of an individual M&S portion.
The salad at the back left was extraordinary. I've probably missed a vital ingredient but it was cooked aubergines and toasted pitta bread covered with yogurt, pomegranate and tomatoes and was just drop-dead gorgeous.
We also had baked chicken in pomegranate molasses and stuffed vine leaves. Divine.
The desserts too were wonderful. I adored the date and walnut sweetmeats below.
And the baklava which she cooks with an olive oil spray so that there are almost no calories. (Yeah right! Lulu is Twiggy like)!
And then there was this wondrous cake/pudding which translates from the Arabic as something like God's Gift cake. It's one of those bung it all in and it sorts out the colour-scheme for you whilst it's baking. The chocolate dense and the top a kind of creme caramel cheesecake texture. (Yes I know that's vague but I've never had anything like it). Another recipe to pinch. Although I may have to buy a fancy tin.
Just in case Lulu hadn't over catered enough there was also a foreign intruder by the name of Tiramisu (which actually wasn't boozy enough for me) but of course I had to try it. Slimming World can go hang this week.
We all came home with Tupperware or foil bags of leftovers and Lulu will be able to feed her family for a week on the rest. The company was great too. We had a Jewish girl from Sunderland, a South African, a Malayan, a Sicilian, a French lady who was brought up here, an Irish girl and 3 home grown, including myself.
A wonderful evening but I am spoilt now. Oh and the top tip? Don't bother making your own hummus when the M&S version is so good.