I have been a bit slack with the blog recently, mostly due to how busy things were here this weekend. We had people for dinner on Friday, friends over on Saturday, and then on Sunday I was out with a friend at Columbia Road market, and N was with her boyfriend jamming with their new band, all of which was topped off with a baking session. That's more socialising in one weekend then I would usually do in a whole month! No wonder we were both totally wiped out yesterday.
Anyway...it technically all started on Thursday. It was going to be eight of us on Friday night, more people than I have ever cooked for. We wanted something tasty but simple, nothing too showy. Basically something we would usually have ourselves, but multiplied. We decided to do bread and olives and hummus to start, pasta and spicy tomato sauce for main and cheesecake for dessert. Easy life. However, as the next series of posts will show, it was destined not to be quite as easy as I'd anticipate, but far more fun!
I started the preparations for the dinner the day before for a variety of reasons. I needed to make the starter for the ciabatta, and I wanted to try out something a bit new...
...Whilst flicking through my recipe books a while back I had spotted a recipe for "tomato and balsamic jam" which looked amazing. Since I love tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and jam it sounded perfect. I thought it would be just the thing to accompany ciabatta and focaccia. It was such a simple recipe it was almost laughable. Basically you just chuck everything in one pan, leave it and voila! Jam:
I wanted to leave it in the fridge overnight so the flavours would enhance, and fortunately I had this great kilner jar from my Mum (originally filled with her delicious homemade lemon curd - that didn't last long, hence the empty jar!). Useful and it looked rather smart on the table the following evening.
I was so pleased with the result, and it got rave reviews from everyone at dinner. I made double the amount the recipe suggested and it was almost all gone even though it was just an accompaniment to the bread, hummus and olives.