A Dinner with the Soto’s: Tapanade Toast, Prawn Cocktail, Farfalle Pasta

Two nights ago, I missed last night with computer problems, we had an annual Chrissie dinner; this night it was with the Soto’s Diane’s oldest friends in Western Australia (her first school posting.)
She began the evening at our kitchen counter with Olives, Nuts and Tapenade Toast and some Bubbly to welcome in the Christmas Season.

After moving to the dining table we enjoyed an old-fashioned Prawn Cocktail made especially good with freshly caught West Australian prawns and cooked exceedingly well by the Chef. They were so fresh and well cooked that they almost crunched when eaten. I think Diane sautéed them in a very small amount of water flavoured with a little stock. I don’t cook frequently anymore but I do remember that too much heat and too much cooking time will destroy any vegetables or seafood. My dad was from the South and they cook well down there but my mother over cooked her vegetables because Dad liked them that way; I dislike vegetables to this day.

Diane’s main course was a delight; she had a packet of muli-colured farfalle, bowtie shaped pasta, made with natural colours. She made the pasta with mushrooms, tomatoes and slices of artichoke bottoms. It wasn’t a sauce; it was just a combination of vegetables with pasta: a delight that even an Argentine meat eater like Luis Soto found good and tasty.

The dessert was some of the Chef’s own ice cream with walnut pieces and choc bits; she also used good powered chocolate for added death of flavour.

The Soto’s brought the wine one bottle of which was particularly good. It was a Spanish Monasterio de las Ninas 2008 Crianza from a region in the Ebro Valley near Zaragoza in north eastern Spain.

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