Sunday, 24 October 2010

D is for...

... Daiquiris followed by a starter of deer and doubanjiang dim sum with pickled daikon. For main, we had duck and damson sauce with dauphinoise potatoes and dutch cabbage in dill butter. Pudding was Darjeeling date doughnuts with Drambuie custard, followed by a cheese board of Dolcelatte, Danegold and Dorstone with damson cheese. Lastly, we had douillons with pear, Dolcelatte and damson and cobnut mincemeat washed down with dessert wine and more Dalmore whisky than would be generally advisable for a Sunday evening.

D-day had an embarrassing start. The guests arrived early only to be sent to the pub for half an hour while Richard and I darted and dashed round the flat, ensuring all finishing touches were made and all evidence of the dinner to come was efficiently secreted away to prevent anything being accidentally revealed before it was time to dish up. Luckily our guests didn't seem to mind their uexpected sojourn to The Five Bells, especially once they had been presented with some hard liquor in the form of daiquiris on their return.

As has become the usual order of things, Richard created a playlist for D night, which included Depeche Mode, The Dead Kennedys, The Dandy Warhols, Duran Duran, The Divine Comedy, The Doors, Dolly PartonBob Dylan, Marlene Dietrich and Dinosaur Jr.

Our dinner guests, Jane (check out her brilliant blog, Really Hungry) and Paul (you can follow him to Fallen London if you play the devilishly entertaining Echo Bazaar), tweeted about the meal as the D's were dished up. They both took great delight in trying to out-guess each other, but there were plenty of surprises left up D's sleeves. Alphabet Soup dinner guests always try to outdo each other in coming up with the least obvious offerings and are pleased with the victory of getting it right, but more delighted still when a genuine surprise is to be found on their plates. It's all part of fun of it and helps to create an extra level of excitement to the evening and to the food.

Pre-dinner drinks


I'd only ever had frozen daiquiris before D-day, which are basically boozy smoothies. As there are so few fruits beginning with D, we opted for old fashioned daiquiris - a particular favourite of Ernest Hemingway and JFK. Daquiris were invented in the 1940s at a time when vodka, gin and whisky were hard to come by, but thanks to Roosevelt's Good Neighbor Policy (or "The Pan-American Program"), Latin American spirits were in plentiful supply and propelled rum to the top of the fashionable cocktail lists.

To make an old fashioned daquiri, you simply need double the quantity of white rum to lime juice which is shaken over ice and sweetened with sugar syrup. This cocktail packs quite a punch and paved the way for a decadently drunken D-day.