Thursday, May 17, 2018

I'm his number one fan

QUESTION: You've invited an author (living or dead - fantasy okay) to dinner and you're nervous. What will you serve that you think will make her or him your greatest admirer?

By Catriona

I don't think I'd invite Mr King (pause to curtsy) to dinner. He must be sick of fans pecking at him. But if he happened to meet with a mishap while passing my house, even though it's at the dead end of a dead-end dirt-road, and if he was without his entourage for some reason, or a working mobile phone, I wouldn't make him wait for AAA on the porch. I'd let him in.

This has already got quite an Annie-Wilkesish flavour to it, though. So I'm going to add Jane Austen to the dinner party to put Stephen at his ease (or convince him he's already been slipped a few halucinogens, maybe).

They're already bookshelf neighbours (along with Robert Burns's cottage)
The conversation isn't an issue because I won't be saying much. I'll let my favourite living writer talk to my favourite ever writer and just listen. Anyway, I'll be bobbing in and out of the kitchen seeing to the food.

Chicken soup to start. SK is all of a doo-dah after the mishap, remember? And JA's just come back to life after more than two hundred years and found herself a long way from Hampshire, so she'll need a bit of a pick-me-up too. 

Then a rack of ribs with barbecue sauce and corn on the cob. SK doesn't strike me as a tapas man. I think a good plate of tasty dinner is the way to go. And if anyone claims they don't want to see Jane Austen eat ribs and sweetcorn . . . well, the hits  on videos of baby pandas falling off slides say otherwise. 

For pudding, I'll make lemon posset. It's dead easy and so delicious you can't believe how easy it is. Also, JA is bound to have eaten it plenty times before so she'll be able to give me a proper rating on mine. 

Lemon Posset
600mls/ 20fl oz of double (US = heavy) cream
140g / 5 oz of caster sugar
drip of vanilla extract
2 lemons.

Juice and zest the lemons. Chop most of the zest finely but save some long strands for decoration. Put the cream, sugar and vanilla into a thick-bottomed saucepan and bring to the boil. Whisk in the lemon juice and chopped zest. Bring back to the boil and keep stirring until the mixture thickens and turns glossy. Remove from heat and pour into glasses or (as I prefer) pretty teacups. Chill for a couple of hours then decorate with strands of zest and serve with shortbread.

Serves 4 (or six after ribs)

I've made this dozens of times but I don't seem to have any pictures of it. Here's the shortbread I've just made to take to Janet Rudolph's literary salon tonight, where Jeff Cohen is appearing. (Real life has its moments too.)


Paul D. Marks said...

Catriona, you're not going to tie Mr. King to the bed, are you? Though it would be his just desserts :-) .

Dietrich Kalteis said...

The tough part's what to serve someone who just came back to life, but I think you made a good choice. It's hard to go wrong with chicken soup, ribs and lemon pudding.

James Ziskin said...

If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding.
How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

Ann said...

Trying very hard to imagine Catriona and Jane Austen in the same sentence as BBQ ribs. Well, Jane Austen, anyway.

I actually have all the ingredients for the pudding if anyone wants to come for dinner

Zibbby said...

I love the idea of Jane Austen having ribs and corn on the cob. Any chance of you finding time to share the shortbread recipe, too?