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...a sweatshop of moxie

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Hostess Update

A wee update about the on-going hostessing, Chez Victoria, this weekend.

The Peruvian doctor's family, who are being hosted by my parents in our home, arrived as planned, early Saturday.

Although it was ungodly early for our late-rising family, we all 3 of us, hopped in our car, and drove like mad to MIA.

We were just on time to pick them up from the meticulous and time-consuming shenanigans Customs always put you through, especially when you're coming from the "Third World", since dad mentioned how greeting a friendly face at airports always makes one happy.

And he's so right.

To my astonishment, the three kids the doc's wife had mentioned, were NOT 3 boys, but rather two older boys, and a little girl, aged almost 6!

I mentioned to my mother that I was pretty sure the lady had said 3 sons on the telephone, but then I remembered she actually used the words

Mis 3 hijos

...and I had obviously misunderstood her followup during our chat.

(Side explanation: See, in Romance tongues, and many other languages, when you have a group consisting of, say, 99 males, plus 1 female, you MUST ALWAYS use the masculine pronoun; something which our "Anglo" sensibilities would consider amazingly sexist. On top of that, hijo is Spanish for son, but also for 'child', so I made a right cock-up of that situation. In my weak defence, I can't help it if we currently don't have genders in English! Work with the gringa, people!)

After they rested, settled in, and unpacked -- which unlike in our home in England, the housekeeper we are "renting" this weekend, didn't do for them, since I know in other parts of the world, that particular courtesy is considered a bit intrusive -- I decided to put my weekend plan to work.

I put in feelers to offer we all head to South Beach, where I would take care of the kids, and have fun with them playing in the sand, in case the older crowd didn't want to follow.

My next item on the agenda was a movie at the Regal, with me monitoring the troupe.

Alas, for well-laid plans!

Like von Clausewitz said in his seminal book on warfare, a general can plan a campaign to the nth degree, but when the battle starts, it usually all falls apart.

Never was this truer, when they ixnayed the beach, saying they had just come from a month at their beach house, and would I take them to play tennis instead.

Suuuuuure. No worries.

Anyway, I didn't mind the tennis, since I am too ADD to sit around a beach for more than an hour or max, two, at a time. Plus, I freckle.

Unfortunately, they also 86'ed the film suggestion, since the kids are not big on the movies.

Now, I like these folks a lot, but come on! Who doesn't like going to the pictures??


Turns out the day was too long for everyone concerned, so instead of a picturehouse, we had a lovely time in Miracle Mile, at a restaurant along the mile-wide bouvelard.

We arrived home around 11 PM EST, and after a chinwag with the Irish-Yugoslavian descended lady (I know, right) and my mother, so off to bed, as Pepys would have it.

I am typing slowly, so as not to wake up the housekeeper lady, a nice Nicaraguan, who is kipping down here in the computer room slash library, overnight.

Bless her, she was invaluable with the mess and fuss today, and though neither my father nor I like live-in maids at all (I suppose I inherited my father's more democratic sensibilities...or maybe we're just too Americanised now), it does bring back wonderful memories of my childhood, when "stuff" just got done, without even pausing to think about it.

And best of all, she's going to help me tomorrow, with my meal.

Being a cautious ex-Girl Guide, I already gave my Peruvian dishes a trial run, all last week, so as to get the taste right.

Not too bad, if I do say so myself. And I do.

But much much too "tasty" for my bland English palate, whose most adventurous culinary excursion, is Lancashire hotpot.

I'll give you a run-down of the happenings, later!

As if you had a choice.


  • "Lancashire hotpot"?

    What's the recipe? Come on, give!

    By Blogger benning, at Sun Feb 26, 09:54:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Your wish is my command!

    I got this from the poxy BBC recipes site -- but I can write up a more detailed one, which my grandmother used to make.


    900g/2lb best end and middle neck British lamb, sliced into chops
    1 tbsp groundnut oil
    4 lamb's kidneys, skinned, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces
    3 onions, sliced into 1cm/½in wedges
    1 tbsp plain flour
    570ml/20fl oz freshly boiled water
    ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
    1 fresh bay leaf
    2 thyme sprigs
    900g/2lb potatoes, cut into 2cm slices
    sea salt
    freshly ground black pepper


    1. Pre-heat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3.
    2. Trim the lamb of any excess fat and pat dry with paper towel.
    3. Heat the oil and a small knob of butter in a large heavy-based frying pan until very hot. Add the lamb, two or three pieces at a time, and fry until brown, turning once. Once browned, put them in a wide 3.5-litre casserole. Brown the pieces of kidney.
    4. Once the meat and kidney are in the casserole, add the onions to the pan. Fry over medium heat, adding a little more butter to the pan if necessary, for about ten minutes until browned at the edges.
    5. Stir in the flour then gradually add the hot water and Worcestershire sauce, stirring until the flour and liquid are smoothly blended. Season with salt and pepper and bring to simmering point. Pour over the meat in the casserole.
    6. Add the bay leaf and thyme, then arrange the potato slices on top in an overlapping pattern. Season the potatoes and dot the surface with a few dabs of butter.
    7. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and put in the oven. Cook for 1 hour 30 minutes. Towards the end of cooking time, remove the lid and brush the potatoes with a little more butter. Then place under the grill to crisp up. Alternatively, remove the lid and increase the heat to 200C/400F/Gas 6 for the last 15 minutes of cooking.
    8. Remove the bay leaf and thyme before serving.

    More later!

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Feb 27, 03:03:00 am GMT-5  

  • What is it about a Bay leaf that can make the inside of your mouth crawl - should said leaf enter said mouth! - but as a flavoring add just enough yumminess to a soup or stew?

    Bay leaf "makes" Lentil soup.

    Lancashire Hotpot is a Lamb dish? Wow!

    Copying and pasting, Ma'am, copying and pasting!

    Mucho gusto!

    By Blogger benning, at Tue Feb 28, 09:10:00 pm GMT-5  

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