Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Dinner with the James'

Dining with Friends. old and new
We were invited last week to dinner at Suzette and Peter James's wonderful Japanese House in Claremont. Peter James, who was the Director of Communications, was Lynne's boss when she worked in Safmarine’s PR department and Suzette is a renowned cook. They regularly entertain travellers from aboard at their house and this time it was four interesting Americans
This is Suzette at her beautifully laid dining table. The house is filled with magnificent Japanese furniture, art, pottery and other objets d'art that they collected during their years in Japan when Peter was Safmarine’s Head of Operations there. As Suzette announced to the guests, her task in life is shopping
Lynne and Peter in the comfortable lounge discussing our mutually disappearing Koi ponds and a solution as to what we do when they run out of water. We are not allowed to fill them up in the drought. We have both already lost about 5 large fish
Suzette is famous for her Japanese food, but tonight she did a South African menu and the food was a deliciously authentic representation of how good it can be. This was the starter of superb quality smoked Kudu carpaccio with avocado, peaches and tomato salad with leaves
We meet the other guests over a glass of bubbly. They were from New Jersey and Boston, with vacation homes in Miami, where they go to escape the harsh Northern winters
Homemade bread, moist with a good crust, made by our hostess as a smaller loaf; Suzette says everyone wants “just a little bread”. Of course it all disappeared
The next course was a Waterblommetjie soup made with good stock and no dairy, as one of the guests had an allergy. A new take on this edible water lily for us, one to copy definitely when they are in season
All served in beautiful Japanese chawanmushi egg custard cups
The main course was braised lamb with Cape Malay spices, but no chilli; wonderfully flavourful and tender, it was served with small pumpkin fritters


Dessert was a Malva pudding and, in the cup, a panna cotta topped with a loganberry and coulis. It was a really great evening and really good way to introduce affluent tourists to our country to some authentic cooking in a real home. And interesting personalities. Thank you both so much
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