Last night we had Denise (the beautiful giver of cupcakes) over to our flat for dinner. It was the first "dinner party" we've hosted since I've been here, and the first time Denise has been invited to a meal in someone's home since she moved to London. I didn't manage to get any photos before we tucked in, but this was the menu:
Curried butternut squash and apple soup
Quinoa and black bean salad with apricot lime vinaigrette
Loosen Bros. 2010 Mosel Riesling
Nigella's Chocolate Loaf Cake
My flatmate said this was the best iteration of butternut squash soup we've had so far this fall, and I had to agree - I absolutely loved the flavors. Roasting the butternut squash adds a bit more richness of flavor, and using Bramley apples added a nice undercurrent of sweetness to counter the curry spice. The black bean salad was very filling and very healthy!
I used the occasion as an opportunity to jump ahead in "Operation Domestic Goddess" and bake something chocolatey! Oh, is this chocolate loaf cake marvelous. It's so dense and moist, and almost tastes like gingerbread due to the dark muscovado sugar. I forgot to get whipped cream to put on top, but it didn't really need anything extra after all -- delicious on its own!
Denise is a beautiful, funny, kind, fearless woman who radiates a zest for life. I am very glad to have this lovely neighbor just across the river and hope this was just the first of many dinner parties!