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Mmm…roast dinner. Had friends H and R round for dinner last night. As I’m sure I’ve intimated already, one of the best things about not working is being at liberty to catch up with friends at whim. Two years ago I spent five amazing weeks travelling through Europe with H. We’ve known each other since our first year of undergraduate studies, and became close friends in our internship. We don’t get to see each other much these days though, so it was very nice to have her and her boyfriend round to our place. And nice to have our respective gentleman-friends together to talk about the rugby, and how we doctors talk too much about gross stuff.

The leg of lamb was succulent, stuffed with dried apricots and thyme (no photos, sorry), the pumpkin perfectly roasted. And the rum baba a new member of the cooking repertoire.

I haven’t made a baba before, but there was a lovely glossy picture of one in a Donna Hay magazine. I compared it to the recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering et al, and decided to go with that recipe because of the lovely step-by-step instructions. I would reproduce the recipe, but I’m pretty sure that would violate copyright, given I haven’t modified it at all.

And it worked! The dough was stickier than I thought it would be, despite being warned in the instructions that it would be thus. Nonetheless, it rose nicely, sitting next to the oil column heater, and cooked to perfection, with a lovely, yeasty aroma (how often do you get to put those two words together? – not often in the medical profession at least..). I cooked it in a ring tin, rather than individual muffin molds because my muffin tins aren’t very deep. So it was more like a Savarin (not that I’d come across a savarin prior to cooking this). I doused it liberally in a rum/sugar syrup, to which I’d added some orange zest and juice. Probably should have doused in more, in retrospect, but I was worried about it becoming a sludgy, soggy mess. It didn’t end up too badly, especially served with some strawberries and some King Island Dairy Vanilla Bean Yoghurt.

It makes a difference, having people round for dinner, rather than meeting them out in a restaurant. I guess it depends how fancy you want to make things, but, particularly with close friends, I think it becomes a lot more relaxed, more personal. And there’s the added benefit of hearing everyone’s satisfied “yums” and “noms.” Rather fulfilling.

And plenty of left-overs for dinner tonight.