A mild Spring evening, the first of the season, spent with my dad. And my grandad. And my mum and brother and nana and husband, on Father’s Day.
It was casual and familiar – my family together, gathering around food… but this evening was especially special, as it was the first time Ben and I hosted everyone at our new home.
Early yesterday morning I began the food preparation and I didn’t stop, really, until family arrived. It was glorious. Burning eggplant (intentionally), pureeing beets, chopping herbs… and my favourite activity of them all, making a pie crust. With my most loved soundtrack playing in the background, I worked to keep it cold – always, colder, more cold, there you go, chill it again, great job, keep it cold – for flaky, all-butter pie crust perfection.
As family arrived we drank some beer, played a game or two of quoits, and went for a little wander to the beach before moseying back to tackle the lamb that was cooking on the spit. Together. At our new home.
Yes, it was an especially special evening.
On our table (which was actually my parents’ first dining table) was dressed in a Jerusalem-inspired feast! We had the burnt eggplant, pureed beets, cauliflower salad and wild rice with chickpeas.
I find Ottolenghi‘s dishes tend to be simple in concept, using humble and nourishing ingredients (though some decidedly foreign to many Western palates), which require keen concentration in preparation and a gutsy execution. They’re spirited and exciting dishes that are so often incredibly scrumptious. I highly recommend Jerusalem to anyone who enjoys good food and delights in tender meal preparation.
Our Jerusalem dishes were served with spit-roasted lamb and chicken, and my dad’s sourdough bread which is so darn good. As we ate, we laughed and shared tales and marvelled at the beetroot and how homely this new place of ours feels. And after a day of cooking, a glass of wine never tasted so good.
To finish, a salty honey pie. This recipe came all the way from Brooklyn, NYC, from the very best pie shop in the world. And despite the wonky shape of my crust (let’s blame my new oven, shall we?) it was wonderfully flaky, and the salty honey filling was outrageously delicious. I served my dad and I seconds, with cream. It was Father’s Day, after all.
Happy Father’s Day, dad. The sign you sneakily hung on my cupboard all those years ago, proclaiming “congratulations for choosing to be born to such a great and wonderful Dad” was indeed right. No one can bake bread, tie rope knots and chop wood like you. You’re a true boy scout. Top of the class, as always.