03 February 2006

2006 annual snowstorm reunion

Meeting for a drink after work turned into monthly meetings at each others' homes. We started calling ourselves the senoritas after a particularly memorable evening at Mary's shortly after her return from Mexico, when she started the evening with margaritas. Followed by rather a lot of wine...

Three years ago it snowed on the day of our January meeting but we thought nothing of it and the evening passed pleasantly. When Julia phoned to check where her taxi might be, she was told he'd be along in about two hours - because of the snow. So Linda offered to drive Julia and Mary to the tube station, but as they got to Highgate Hill and saw the cars sliding all over the place it was obvious that this was not a good idea. They turned round and went to Linda's and stayed there overnight - she's always prepared for the unexpected!

This year, Mary emailed earlier in the day to say it was snowing in Oxford -- but only a flake or two fell in London. The menu was a salad with roasted almonds and quails' eggs; the roast squash, feta, and rocket penne; and a spanish almond cake, served with creme fraiche; then, chocolates. The weather remained cold, but dry.
Preheat oven to 200C(400F). Place cubes of butternut squash (recipe said 1.2kg but just under 1kg made lots) in a roasting tin with 1 tsp (or more) fresh rosemary, 4 cloves crushed garlic, 1 Tbsp olive oil ; toss to coat. Bake for 30 min, or until squash is soft and golden. Season.

Meanwhile, cook 500g penne until al dente. Drain, return to the pan and stir in 20g butter. Keep warm.

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat; add 1 large red onion, sliced, and cook for 3-5 minutes, then add 1 Tbsp honey and ook for 2 mins or until the onion starts to caramelise. Add 1/2 cup (125ml) chicken or veg stock and simmer gently for 5-7 min or until reduced slightly.

Add the roast squash to the onion mixture, stir to combine, then add to the pasta with 200g feta, crumbled, and 100g resh rocket leaves. Toss to combine and season to taste. Garnish with shaved parmesan.

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