We had a very good weekend. On Saturday, to atone for the extravagances of Friday’s dinner, we rode our bikes to forage for Saturday and Sunday nights’ dinners. Yes! In spite of the fact that it snowed yet again on Thursday, the roads were completely passable. Not only that, but so much of the snow has disappeared that there are tips of tulip and daffodil leaves peeking up from many bare patches soil throughout the city. Perhaps winter is finally over after all….
I love the look of the city on the day before Easter. Roncesvalles is absolutely jammed with pedestrians (and cars – amazing that people are still driving with gasoline prices at almost $1.00 per liter!) The vegetable storefronts are festooned with cut flowers, potted tulips, daffodils, lilies along with a dazzling array of wonderful looking fruits and vegetables. As I watched the parade, a girl emerged from our local (suddenly busy) bicycle store, set her unicycle (!) down and careened off, weaving in and around the flowers and strolling families. There were many well-dressed couples, one or both carrying baskets covered with beautiful starched white lace cloths. What a wonderful sight to see grown men carrying a dainty baskets in the crook of their arms and not looking embarrassed. (I gather that the baskets contain food to be eaten on Easter Sunday. The baskets are taken to the church on Saturday to be blessed.) We continued our ride to Kensington and encountered more throngs of happy people shopping for Easter feasts. No more dainty baskets in sight but we did see one young fellow riding his bike one handed and carrying an enormous potted Easter lily in his other hand.
On Easter Day, in the afternoon, we rode down by the lake along with zillions of roller bladers, strollers, bicyclists. Then we came home to have an excellent dinner with M and B. We started with carrot, zucchini and celery sticks with a blue cheese dip (Danish blue crumbled into Hellmann’s mayonnaise). There were also some home-cooked artichoke hearts quartered and drizzled lightly with a very simple vinaigrette of olive oil, cider vinegar, dried basil leaves and seasalt. Those artichokes were phenomenally good as they were as well as when dipped into the blue cheese mixture!
Then we had a smallish ham (from one of the Polish delis on Roncesvalles – they smoke all their own hams), broccoli and scalloped potatoes. T had slathered the ham with apricot jam and mustard before baking it. It was fantastic. B and M brought a lovely wine to go with dinner: Perrin Réserve Côte du Rhône 2001 (blend of Grenache, Sirah, Mourvédre and Cinsault). It was quite tart and puckery in the mouth on its own but with the dinner, the taste was sweet and fruity and full. Perfect!
Then chocolate ice cream. And we ended the convivial evening with mint tea.