Dorothy rang last night after the Rome conference. Things OK and Julian had a successful trip to Barcelona.
I plan to have lunch this week with Romy, to have a curry on Saturday night, and perhaps to have Madeleine here for lunch on Sunday. Dorothy assures me that no one invites people to lunch or dinner at home any more and they all go to restaurants. This is an alarming trend which must be stopped at once. Apart from the financial outlay, or the danger of eating at inferior cafes, eating at one's leisure at home is much more fun. Cooking is also fun, especially if one chooses simple dishes with good wines. I managed to resist the temptation to book yet another Groupon for the tasting menu at Les Trois Garcons. This was on offer today and was a huge temptation, but I knew I could not really afford it. Though it is only £60 for two, by the time you have purchased a modest wine, bought coffees and paid the service charge on the full (discounted at over 50%) amount, it does in fact come to £120, which though I think is fair for what is on offer, is beyond my pauper's purse. Not to mention the difficulty of finding someone reliable to dine with me - they charge 25% for non attenders. Ah well, farewell Les Trois Garcons - they had just started to recognise me when I appeared there.
I have quite enjoyed cooking for the few friends I have, and think they have enjoyed themselves too. Fortunately, despite 'Come Dine' and all the cooking programmes on TV, there are still some people who do not expect a cheffy presentation of fanciful food, and who still enjoy 'plain' home cooking.
Despite this I find myself glued to the TV's Hungry Frenchman. This is Raymond Blanc, of whom my mother was very fond. She went to Le Manoir when it first opened, and I was happy to give her a couple of birthday lunches there. Seems M. Blanc showed her around his kitchen gardens and found time to chat about them to her, which she greatly appreciated.
I have to say that whatever he may be like in his private life, his warmth and great enthusiasm about food comes over really well in the programme. I particularly enjoyed the extract from Lyons about eating andouillettes, which was very funnily parodied by Harry Hill last night.
This reminded me of my second husband, when eating out in France, who, when told that English people did not like andouillettes, insisted on ordering one. When it arrived it literally smelled vilely of steaming poo. Without expression he ate the lot, somehow maintaining his equanimity to an extent, but I wish I had taken a snap of the expression on his face at the time. Needless to say, I had taken the waiter's advice and ordered a steak.