Dishes to wow your female friends at a Little Christmas pot-luck supper, writes DOMINI KEMP
A wise and wonderful woman I know started a club for women who like good food and better chat. The idea was that we all went to one of our houses on a particular evening every couple of months, bringing a few dishes to share.
She called it a Pot Luck Supper and we’ve had some great dinners over the past couple of years. Because of the pot luck nature of the evening, we would sometimes have an abundance of lamb stews or braised hunks of meat while at other times, it was as though Yotam Ottolenghi himself had put on a frock and joined the party as the table would be teeming with our interpretations of his Middle Eastern creations.
This year, our first pot luck falls on Little Christmas (tomorrow, January 6th), so I shall make my way over to our hostess for the evening with plates and bowls of food and a bottle or two of wine. We will do what women were traditionally supposed to do on Little Christmas: hand over the reins to the menfolk and leave our cares and troubles at the door. Then we shall celebrate our dishes and all that the table bears.
But don’t be fooled. Although it’s not as competitive as a Little Miss Beauty pageant, we’re all pretty good cooks. Some of us even do it for a living, while the others could – they’re that good. So after a couple of glasses of wine, the critiques can be quite ruthless. Plus, if you don’t bring something that looks like effort was made, there can be repercussions. I brought over a few bags of lettuce once – that I had grown, not bought – under the pretence of being all Noma-esque. I was let off the hook this once, but was encouraged to do a little more for the next dinner.
For the next few weeks, I will be concentrating on lots of raw and superfood meals and giving you light and healthy dishes so that our resolutions for a healthy January are given a bit of a chance.
SAFFRON CHICKEN, ORANGE AND FENNEL SALAD
Pinch of saffron
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp honey or agave syrup
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
100ml olive oil, plus a little more
4 skinless chicken breasts, sliced
2 fennel, thinly sliced
Bunch basil, coriander, and mint
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
Cut the orange into quarters and then cut these into two or three segments. Chuck into a small saucepan – which has a lid – and add the saffron, vinegar and water. Put the lid on and simmer for about 45 minutes on a very gentle heat. You may need to add more water if it’s getting too dry.