Monday 2nd November

The weekend was a complete whirlwind! I had a full house and was ‘one man down’ and some close friends had come to stay.  My friends and I spent Friday night in and I cooked supper – I did Crepes Suzette with Grand Marnier as the dessert – it can be prepped in advance and it’s a bit of theatre in the kitchen doing the flambe!

Paul kindly babysat the hounds on the Saturday night, as I had bought tickets to see The Improvised Musical Showstoppers . That night’s show was called Hallowqueen (being the 31st October) and it was brilliant! This particular selection of improv comedy shows ends on the 28 November so if you get the chance go and see the show! I would also recommend it to guests if their English is of a good level, as it is such a fun night out.

Most of my English speaking guests are into Downton Abbey, I am having to watch it so I can send an update to the Australians that stayed a couple of weeks ago as they won’t get the latest series until next summer. A couple over from Northern Ireland this weekend were keen to watch it and as the TV in their bedroom needed updating, they joined me in the ‘den’ to watch it last night.  We shared a bottle of wine together which they said rounded off a very pleasant day after attending the christening of their first grandchild.

My other guests wanted to relax in the kitchen for their last night (Sunday) and the husband who had been eyeing up the different gin bottles all week at breakfast asked if he could try one or two.

I gave him The London No 1 gin with ice and lemon which slipped down so easily he wanted another.  So I gave him a Hendriks with cucumber, which was his favourite and his wife who never drinks gin was won over too.  I reassured them again this morning that they could buy Hendricks at LHR duty-free shop as she wanted to take a bottle home.  It’s nice when guests take a little something from England back with them!

Ps. Crepe Suzette was a dish I was requested to cook before I was offered a job as a private cook in Eaton Place many moons ago. So with that in mind here is the recipe…

Ingredients

1 x classic pancake recipe  or shop bought

3 tbsp caster sugar

250ml of orange juice

zest and juice of 1 lemon

2 tbsp Grand Marnier or Cointreau

50g unsalted butter

Method

Pour the caster sugar into a non-stick frying pan and set the pan over a low-medium heat. Allow the sugar to melt slowly without stirring and continue to cook until it starts to caramelise and is the colour of caramel.

Immediately take the pan off the heat and add the orange juice – be careful as it may splatter as it hits the hot caramel.  Now add the juice and zest of the lemon and return the pan to a low heat to re-melt the caramel into the liquid.

Add the butter to the sauce in small pieces, bring to the boil and simmer gently until glossy and reduced slightly.

Fold the crepes into quarters and then arrange them neatly in the warm syrup and gently warm them through for about 3 – 4 minutes over a low heat.  When the crepes are hot, pour the liqueur over them and set light to the pan to flambé them.  Serve immediately spooning crepes and sauce onto each plate.

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