We and some of our friends have a tradition to have an Oscar party with good food and watch and kid around and make snide remarks. It used to be our party and held at our house, but when we stopped having a working TV (well, we have a TV but no signal of any kind to watch networks or cable – we just use it as a screen for our VCR/DVD stuff) we had to stop being hosts, so it is now actually our friends’ party that we get invited to. Anyway, this year was no exception. We knew (and thought it reasonable) that Lord of the Rings would win a lot of Oscar’s, but 11 was ridiculous. We heaped scorn on many of the best song nominees (well, that ‘Ain True Love’ thing of Sting’s and the rather lame performance of ‘Into the West’ by Annie Lennox – the original in the movie was a lot better) and cheered mightily for ‘A kiss at the end of the rainbow’ from A Mighty Wind just because the movie deserved it.

We made a big switch on the food this year though. Finger food and cocktails. None of us are cocktail drinkers really so that wasn’t a complete success, but Jan and I provided Kir courtesy of the neverending supply of good champagne that people give us which we don’t drink because we don’t like champagne. Combined that very simply with D’Arbo blackcurrant syrup rather than a liqueur. I also made Cosmopolitans – 4 parts citron vodka, 4 parts cranberry juice, 2 parts triple sec and one part lime juice – that were decent and basic on the rocks Margaritas – I don’t really like the blended ones.

Finger food was another story. Pam made delightful pesto and cheese stuffed portobello mushrooms as well as crudites with various dips. I made the infamous cheese straws with dry mustard and baby calzones stuffed with green garlic, spring onion, golden chard, tomato, fresh mozzarella, marinated artichokes and chicken.

Pam also made a huge pot of corn and vegetable chowder (a cream one).

Desserts were too varied to even recall. My contribution was one of the first pastry dishes I have ever made up on the fly – and it worked! Completely. Basically a sweet tart with a fluffy almond and orange filling and a lemon-vanilla crust. I am going to put down the basic measurements for the filling before I forget them and I’ll reconstruct the full recipe in a later post. Two cups of finely ground almonds (almond flour), 6 ounces of mascarpone, a cup of sugar, two eggs, a teaspoon of orange oil and an orange very very thinly sliced into slices, then quarters. Lighten with two thoroughly beaten egg whites.

There – that should do to refresh my memory later.

I also taught Grace to make basic crepes this weekend – not the true buckwheat kind, but the plain kind. This will serve to remind me to put that recipe and some of my popular filling recipes up here as well.

Kudos to Tim Robbins and the maker of Chernobyl Hearts and a few others for the courage to actually bring real issues from their work a few moments in the limelight.