I face-booked a few of my sisters closest friends before arranging a little food get together for my her coming home. When I say "home" I mean the Paris home, not the London home. It feels strange calling it that, but it is, a little bit like home now. I guess.
(The more great food involved, the homelier a place is. )
I told guests to arrive earlier than she would, to surprise her for when she opened the door. Just before arriving home, she called me and asked me if I was in. "Yeah," I said. "I've prepared a little snack, don't buy anything," I spoke sternly but with no promise in my voice that what the little snack we would have for dinner would be particularly interesting. "Amazing!" She replied, "because I was going to pick up some Chinese takeaway as I'm starving.."
As she walked in the door, I was innocently rolling pizza dough out. The door to the living room was closed and guests were sitting inside, with wine and gougeres I'd made for aperitif.
"Sorry, the flat is a little bit of a mess", I lied, as I opened the door to invite her to the living room, her friends at a dinner party.
How great is the unexpected?
Everyone is always happy for homemade pizza, with extra oregano and olive oil in the dough which makes it so much more flavoursome. A fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella teared all over, vegetables and chorizo. When the pizza came out, I teared fresh basil leaves on top, some parmesan shavings and cracked black pepper. Who ever said no to all the pizza toppings? Not me (And nobody else either, it seems.)
Here we have a chou mountain with chocolate sauce, salted caramel sauce and whipped cream. As a party host, I find that this is the best dessert to make at dinner parties because everyone gets excited about filling their chou with cream and dipping them in caramel and they feel like they've earned their dessert, a little bit.
The choux pastry I used here was very light. I know my Italian friend would laugh at me if she heard me saying this (she saw me happily slicing away at the butter) but I used only water in the recipe, rather than half milk, half water.
I am currently working on noting down all "base" ingredients and methods for basic French patisserie, choux pastry will go in that category so watch this space.