Preheat your oven...
Having seen the proposed nodermeet I set about asking people where we might be able to hold
such an event. booyaa and I live in a tiny flat in a not particulary central location and, worse, given the nature of the
meet, it has a spectaculary badly planned kitchen. So our house was the obvious location to avoid for this particular
occasion. The weeks passed and no-one proposed a suitable venue and it looked increasingly unlikely that anything would
actually happen. Such a great idea I felt should not go to waste, so I blurted into Britnoders that we would host the meet.
Given that this was two days before the meet was due to take place most people either couldn't organise themselves at such
short notice or had other plans. Especially as this weekend we are celebrating bonfire night.
BlackPawn had in fact requested fireworks but in the absence of anywhere safe to use them - not that he appeared to be as
bothered as we were at the prospect of putting roman candles on the tarred floor of our roof garden - I made what I hoped
would be a suitably festive arrangement. Amidst some russet and red autumn leaves I added,
found in the local florists, some fantastic deep orange things that look just like
So, with a bit of dashing about and improvising we managed to gather four noders round a small table in my
living room, with food all from 'Serves 6' recipes and two bottles of rather nice white wine and a delicious bottle of
Champagne that BlackPawn had been, and I quote, "saving for a special occasion."
Dinner is served
I wanted to make something with a Thanksgiving flavour so I started off with Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup as a
concept and proceeded to transform the recipe, until we
had a deliciously warming Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup. It went down a treat, so I may node it.
For the main course my priority was something that didn't need constant attention. I hate being tied to the cooker while
my guests are doing the ice-breaking catch-up session in the living room. Guided by this, I chose a simple
pasta recipe. I love pasta with just a little olive oil, garlic, chilli and basil, dusted with some parmesan. So sneff's Spaghettini with rocket, lemon and chilli was the obvious candidate. Unsure as to what
an Australian would consider a bunch of rocket, I pinned any possible blame if I misjudged the quantity on our
resident Australian. We now know that about twice the amount would probably be right! Oh, and I added a tablespoon of
toasted pine nuts as Tiefling has a bit of a thing about them.
This was BlackPawn's turn to excel and demonstrate his culinary prowess. Despite my misgivings and frankly desperate
attempts to deter him from making something so time consuming and complicated in my ill-equipped kitchen, he was not to be
dissuaded. Indeed, he came armed with a remarkable range of kitchen gadgets, just in case. I
think I worried him rather when I said on the phone, before he packed, that my kitchen equipment is one exceedingly sharp
knife, full stop. Nevertheless we did manage to provide everything he needed and with Tiefling as his faithful sous-chef,
he created the divine experience that is Raspberry souffle with poached strawberries and mint pesto. Needless to say, the
first toast of the evening was to sneff!
After Dinner Mints
After dinner, when the Glenmorangie came out and the music slowed down, the serious conversations started. No nodermeet
is complete without an unfeasibly (or infeasibly? There was some debate as to which form is correct - any answers?) wide
range of topics, tackled in extraordinary depth. Noders never cease to amaze me. For instance, Tiefling was enticed to
explain why he so loudly snorted when The Da Vinci Code was mentioned. Linguistics on various levels cropped up throughout
the evening with BlackPawn regretting the absence of Gritchka as moderator. The Australian political system was compared
to the English and French equivalents. During my various soujourns to the kitchen, I am reliably informed, the
conversation also covered game theory, prisoner's dilemma and roshambo. Though booyaa says that the guys spent more
time trying to explain to him what they were talking about than actually getting a full-throttle discussion going. Later on, I joined in on dyslexia, asperger's syndrome, the eternal question and finally the Right-Left hemisphere: real or malarkey? debate. In the
end, when bedtime beckoned, everyone had learned something new.
On Sunday morning, as planned, BlackPawn packed up and got ready to find the secret door into the MI6
building. Tiefling, an exceptional tour guide, humbly offered his services and off they went into the grey, damp London
air, leaving a rather quiet house and a pile of washing up ;)
This aftermath writeup brought to you under threat of, well I'm not entirely sure, but BlackPawn said it'd better
be done by the time he got home and, come on, he's way bigger than me.
The kitchencam™ was on the go for most of the evening. See: http://booyaa.org/gallery/view_album.php?set_albumName=stuffed though there are not many, I note, of the actual food. BlackPawn will remedy that hopefully very soon :)