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Linda A | all galleries >> Galleries >> Every Day I Write My Book - 2004 diary > 17th April 2004 - Beth and Sabino
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17th April 2004 - Beth and Sabino

Its been such a nice day in my life today. Ive plucked up all my courage and jumped back into the murky pool of entertaining. Its been a year or so since we last invited anyone other than family into our home (Colin counts as family and the meal I prepared for Ray was a light lunch rather than a full-on dinner party) Mat and Mand were our last two house guests in May last year. Prior to then it had been one of the greatest pleasures of my life. Cooking for friends is such a rewarding and fulfilling experience, I just love it.

We stopped firstly because of the building work in the kitchen going on nearly six months of building went on to get things just how we wanted them and in truth its still not quite finished some woodwork still needs painting. Later that year I had my confidence badly knocked and so decided to walk away from this thing that I so loved doing.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I plucked up courage to ask Beth, my dear friend and ex-colleague and her boyfriend Sabino to come and share our table. Yesterday was the day. Id forgotten how much I enjoy the planning for such events I mulled for ages over what to cook and how to prepare.

When Beth and Sab arrived, I insisted on trying out my portrait skills on them and this is one of the resulting photos. I think they will be pleased with the set of them I will be putting up a gallery of them a bit later today.

Wed not met Sab before but he seemed to be at home with us straight away Rosie now thinks she has kept goal for a famous Real Madrid centre-forward as Sab spent ages shooting a tennis ball through a doorway for her to catch. He also asked lots of questions about the food and I love that. He asked what the ingredients were, how Id cooked the dishes and for the recipes. What a complete darling I was absolutely in my element.

Id decided to cook dishes with a Mediterranean feel because Sab is Spanish and I thought hed appreciate it. Then while I was cooking I lost my confidence again in case by cooking Mediterranean dishes he would find out what a fraud I am and that even though I can talk the talk about food, Id not be able to carry it off. Seemingly that wasnt the case. Phew. Id decided to cook really simple dishes, with a small number of ingredients that took little time to prepare but a long time to cook. Personally I think that a few flavours that are well defined and developed through slow cooking are so good that over the years Ive moved away from elaborate meals in favour of this type of cooking. So, the menu was roasted Ramiro peppers, stuffed with tomatoes, garlic, basil and black pepper, drizzled with chilli oil and roasted for three quarters of an hour until the peppers were as sweet as sweet could be. Then homemade pasta puttanesca a hot sauce with olives and capers, again cooked slowly for more than an hour to steep all those flavours together. Finally, chocolate mousse ice cream just about the easiest dish in the world and so sexy its not true. I knew Beth would love that, she has a huge chocolate thing.

It was so wonderful to see Beth although in the grand scheme of things she and I have not known each other long (I think 2-3 years only), we have become such firm friends. In fact, this is the first time Ive seen her since she left the company towards the end of last year. She has such a nice way of seeing life. Its just a real pleasure to be in her company. Towards then end of the evening she just seemed to be sparkling with radiance. Im not sure Im expressing that well but thats how it seemed to me.

Only one little fly in our ointment was that we were having so much fun that we didnt notice the taxi pull up to take them back to the station and they missed the train theyd been planning to catch. I really hope they caught their later train OK.

So, Im back into it now.another guest coming in a couple of weeks and Im just about to fill our diary with as many of our friends as I can. Ive some catching up to do.

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Patti Davis 22-Apr-2004 21:46
Linda -
This picture is fabulous! I hope when I come to visit you will take a picture of me to treasure!
brother_mark19-Apr-2004 16:58
The skins tones are to die for. Gorgeous! And they look content and happy.
Guest 18-Apr-2004 16:28
This is such a wonderful shot of them!! And how fun for you, to have sucha great night filled with yummy food and friends!! Can't wait until you can cook for me!!! :-)
virginiacoastline18-Apr-2004 15:51
umm . .what's a ramiro pepper? Is it unique to UK or is it known by another name that I mightrecognize? Your friends look lovely & I envy them their dinner hosts!
Karthik Raja18-Apr-2004 14:13
Very nice portrait. Very nice to frame.
katwilkens18-Apr-2004 13:09
Beautiful portrait of a good-looking couple. The meal sounds good too, even though I'm reading this at 6:00 a.m.!
Beth 18-Apr-2004 12:26
I am so glad you took the plunge again, Linda. We had such a gorgeous evening with you, David and the woofs (and the chooks). To me, Linda, you are a truly creative, inspiring and nurturing goddess. Thank you so much for being you. Our only chance of coming close to the delicious food from last night is to get the Spanish maestro in the kitchen. I'll chop the vege!
Rick Lewis18-Apr-2004 11:41
This is a lovely portrait.
Guest 18-Apr-2004 11:13
Good friends, good food, a bit of photography thrown in... what good be more lovely!?
Ray :)18-Apr-2004 10:51
They look a wonderful couple. A lovely pose with great lighting.
Larry Ahern18-Apr-2004 10:42
Excelent portrait ... of course they'll love it.
Guest 18-Apr-2004 10:18
This is very nice Linda - hope they both like it?
penny roots18-Apr-2004 10:17
It sounds like you had a really nice time . That's a wonderful portrait ,great lighting , i'm sure they will love it .
northstar3718-Apr-2004 09:56
It is a very good portrait!