Today begins a new series of Sunday Shows and the format is Invitation to Sunday Lunch. The format is that an invited guest brings a virtual plus one from the past or present who has inspired them in some way. They are also asked to bring a course for lunch either a starter, main course or dessert and why that particular dish is important to them.
Of course formats are flexible and to begin this series one of those elements has been suspended so that I can fit my three guests around the table.
This year the highly successful Bloggers Bash Awards was debuted and London never knew what hit it. The city where celebrities and high level government officials roam the streets and corridors of power, was paralysed by the influx of excited and enthusiastic writers from the Land Of Blog. Such was the overwhelming hilarity that certain members of the committee have written fantastical, thrilling and downright scary stories about the event. Mr. Hugh Roberts, upstanding member of said committee cannot be with us today but his excellent story of the aftermath can be found here: http://hughsviewsandnews.com/2015/07/16/the-truth-app-2/
With three guests around the table all with a delicious contribution to the meal, and of course some beverages there will be quite a bit of chat. So loosen your waistband and off we go.
Today’s guests in order of our meal. Ali Isaac, Geoff Le Pard and Sacha Black.
To give you a little background and the links to find out more I have prepared some place mats. Please connect to these incredibly talented and generous people.
Ali Isaac has adventure in her genes and spent her early childhood in a Landrover travelling across the UK to Kuwait where the Landrover expired. This resulted in a short stop on a farm in the desert and then a move to Greece with her father’s job for the next seven years. Ali is a linguistic sponge and has absorbed several languages in her travels including French, Greek, Italian and Arabic.
Fast forward to the present and Ali now lives in rural Ireland with her husband, three children and the family dog.
Ali regularly posts on topics of Irish interest on her blog, www.aliisaacstoryteller.com
Buy Ali’s books and find out more about her fascinating interests.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/aliisaac_
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/aliisaacstoryteller
Ali has brought the starter for our lunch today… delicious……
I’m kicking it all off today with my starter. I’ve brought a selection of Greek nibbles to tantalise our taste buds in readiness for Geoff’s main event; a Greek salad complete with slab of creamy, salty feta cheese, a fresh tzatziki and houmus to dip your crusty bread into, and a dish of tangy black olives.
Why Greek food? Well, I spent part of my childhood on a Greek island called Cyprus, and many years later, married my Irish husband on another Greek island called Kalymnos. It was this immersion into Greek culture, language and archaeology as a child which sparked my enthusiasm for mythology in general (and Irish mythology in particular, now), something you might happen to notice if you visit my blog or read any of my stories!
As a child, I was addicted to Horiatiki salad… I know, a strange confession, but I suppose I was a bit of a strange child! Horiatiki salad is much like a Greek salad, but with the addition of lettuce, and I used to eat buckets of the stuff. I guess there are more harmful substances to be addicted to!
My time in Greece was bittersweet. It was a fabulous place for a child to grow up in; safe, always sunny, lots of swimming and watersports, school finished at lunchtime, and we had so much freedom. We had dogs, cats, guinea pigs, a canary, even a donkey. We rode chopper bikes and skateboards, rarely watched TV. My sister and I never wore shoes at all until the winter came, when my mother would force our feet into boots. Which we promptly lost ‘accidentally on purpose’ at the first opportunity, and then sulked when instructed to retrieve them.
But underlying this utopia was the dark shadow of my parents growing marital problems. My dad was often away from home for such long periods of time, that when he returned, I didn’t know who he was. Eventually, and quite suddenly, my mother, sister and I found ourselves living in the UK. It was not an easy adjustment to make. I never lost my love for Greece, though, or for Greek food!
To liven things up a bit, (not that any livening up is really needed with Geoffle and Sacha for company!), I have taken the liberty of bringing along a round of drinks. These are Irish, though.
‘For you, Geoff, a bit of the black stuff, a genuine pint o’ Guinness all the way from Dublin; for you, Sacha, a little Poitín… it’s made from potatoes, and will blow your socks off! For you, Sally, a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream, because one glass of Baileys is never enough, and for me, a glass of Bulmer’s cider’.
I drank a couple of these at the Bloggers Bash. Well, we did end up in an Irish bar after dinner. The Bloggers Bash was such great fun; I really can’t wait till next year’s.
My most abiding memory of BB2015 is how few of us had ever met, and yet, after the first couple of minutes of awkwardness had dissolved, we were all getting on like old friends! It was most extraordinary.
What also struck me, was how true everyone was to the persona they portrayed on their blogs. A lot was riding on this event; the pressure was on. There were people going from blogs I had followed and grown to know and love… what if in real life I didn’t actually like the bloggers behind them? I was quite nervous about that.
But happily, these worries were unfounded. I think bloggers tend to unleash their real selves on their blogs, and that’s something which can’t be hidden when you finally meet in person.
Oh, and I’ve got a secret chocolate torte hidden in my handbag for the chocolate lovers, just don’t tell Sacha!
Time to move onto the main course provided by Geoff.
Geoff Le Pard began his creative writing in 2006 following a career as a lawyer (perfect background for storytelling!). It began with a short radio play and ended up with two novels sitting on Amazon waiting for you to buy. Between the radio play and today there was an MA which highlighted the need to edit, edit and edit some more. I have a feeling though that his sense of humour has been percolating away since the moment he learned to talk.
Now Geoff is a writer and if you stand still he will probably use you as a blackboard. ‘When I’m not writing and thinking about writing, I’m blogging (which is a sort of writing); I cook, I walk, I read (but not enough) and I walk some more. The dog approves of my career choices’.
Buy Geoff’s books : http://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0
Connect with Geoff:
Geoff has brought the main course for our lunch today which I am serving with some fabulous Reserva Rioja.
At Sunday lunch with Sally, I’m bringing the main course which is roast leg of lamb, roast potatoes, carrots, runner beans and a ratatouille. This was easily the most popular meal when I was child though, being honest ratatouille wasn’t part of mum’s culinary repertoire in the 1960s; that’s a 1970s addition as she developed her international cuisine range.
Dad loved lamb over all other roast meats. If anyone remembers the galloping gourmet, Graham Kerr, a somewhat up himself Canadian food lover, they will remember, above all his ticks and peccadillos, those ruby red (I’m guessing, this was black and white TV) succulent lips on which the close up camera lingered. These awful soggy smackers represented the height of food enjoyment and my father could have been the lip model once he smelt lamb a’roasting come midday on a Sunday.
Mum pandered to dad, allowing him to take centre stage, boasting about the crops we were eating (all the vegetables were home grown). The one thing she wouldn’t allow, neutering him somewhat, was to carve. At some point before I was old enough to recall, probably before I was born, she allowed him that very domestic of male roles which, alongside the barbecue was the sole preserve of the domestic male chef pre 1990. It must have been a disaster because he never once carved. Did he feel the lack? I think so, but when it came to the domestic budget, in fact anything involving the household accounts Mum ruled.
I can well recall that dining room table laden with food, dad beaming regaling us with some silly story, some tall story while mum would busy herself, interjecting occasionally but mostly working hard to ensure everyone else was happy before she sat down and allowed herself a few minutes peace before pudding.
Had you stumbled on our lunch and watched for twenty minutes or so you’d have guessed I was the shy child (true, things change – what can I say), the Archaeologist some sort of Venusian-sized mega brain (a Dan Dare allusion, for those not sure what I’m going on about) of a youngster (also true, still true) and Dad the centre of our little universe (sort of so). Mum’s smile and quiet demeanour might have led the watcher to suspect she was a typical wifely drudge, the downtrodden hausfrau. How wrong they would be. Remembering this meal, bringing it back to the table is a reminder that she was the gravity (or was that the gravy?) in our family, the glue that stuck it together, the utterly consistent, utterly dependable backroom Barbara without whom the rest of us would have spun out of our orbit.
Having lunch with Ali, Sacha and Sally in the week when we announce the date for the Second Annual Bloggers Bash is a lovely opportunity to recall that warm sunny day on 1st August when Year One happened.
My memories of the day are both vivid and blurred. Vivid in the moments – when Ali and Sacha jumped me as I waited for them by Caravan for breakfast and our pre briefing; when, having joined up with everyone else outside the British library, we stood in a circle like year ones waiting to be picked for the school team, all rather shy and retiring until Hugh told us to line up so we could do a piece to camera; looking down our table in Pizza Express and realising everyone was engaged in an animated discussion with their near neighbours; sharing a grin with Dylan Hearn as Sherri Matthews joined us in a whirlwind of hellos. Blurred in how the time went; in what was said in the speeches that made people laugh; in the final goodbyes.
The best bit was easy; the sheer exuberance of these bloggers. You’d think we were a desk bound bunch of sociophobes, hiding behind our screens but we all said how much like our screen personas we were. I think the truth is that bloggers are actually outgoing people who don’t always have the chance to show it. And when they’ve already given of themselves on their blog to these self-same people, then the usual inhibitions of new meetings seem rather irrelevant. That was splendid and we three (and Hugh) cannot wait for the whole thing to start again.
And last but not least Sacha Black who has brought dessert to finish off our lunch today.
You need to head over to Sacha’s blog to get the full lowdown about her life and will not spoil that experience for you. In a nutshell; (not on the menu I promise), Sacha is a wonderer at heart. A thinker, and ponderer on anything unusual or controversial which you can see in her Weekend Wonders series. She finds inspiration in the beauty of imperfection and is enthralled by evocative questions. She has sought answers to those questions by travelling the world including in the Himalayas but has also journeyed through the writings of others in books and songs.
Her blog is a mine of information, particularly for those who are just starting out and those (like me) who have developed bad habits. She has a couple of intriguing WIPs Adultland and The Keepers and details of those can be found here. http://sachablack.co.uk/sachas-novels/
Head over and find out all about Sacha: http://sachablack.co.uk/about/
Sacha has brought dessert and having enjoyed a brief breather after the delicious roast lamb dinner we now dive in again.
I have the sweetest tooth of anyone I know. There was a time, I would have demanded to serve a chocolate fudge cake – or like I demanded of the chef at our wedding venue – a milk chocolate torte. You see, I am an addict. I know lots of people say that, but seriously. I don’t do anything by halves, just ask Ali! I am a full blown chocolate addict. Before I gave up I could eat a family bar to myself, and not even break a sweat. I have a nose that would put a hound to shame, if it’s in the house, even if it’s wrapped and sealed in cellophane, I could still find it. I am so severely addicted; I talk about chocolate like it’s an addiction. I am unable to eat just a tiny bit, unfortunately I had to give it up completely, save for that teeny tiny bite would spiral me into a pit of 6 months of squirreling it away and 2 stone in weight… yeah seriously… chocolate did that to me!
So instead of the mouth-watering chocolate scruminess, I bring you my second favourite food in life, and a very British pudding. Scones. And that’s SK-OHHHNES darling, not skonnns.
Scones are close to my heart, because they remind me of my dear old great great aunt. Yes, two greats! She lived in a rather large house, and sat at the head of the table observing her minions!
She would snaffle curls of butter from the butter tray and pass them to me under the table. I would toddle up to her, doe eyed and beg for more! …Just one more curl of butter, perweaase. Whilst we did eat the scones eventually, we spent most of our time preoccupied with slathering our arteries with butter-induced cholesterol.
Oh and if you want to know which order the clotted cream and jam goes on. Its cream first Jam on top!
Perhaps sweeter than even scones smothered in cream and jam is the very exciting news that The Annual Bloggers Bash is Back.
You heard me…. THE BASH IS BACK
If you couldn’t make it last time, then now’s your chance. We are giving you plenty of notice so no excuses. The second Annual Bloggers Bash will be held on:
11th June 2016
It will be in London again, primarily because of the ease of access, it is after all the capital city.
In line with the bash, we will have another round of annual awards, which you will be able to nominate and vote for closer to the time. If you would like to register an interest in coming to the bash then drop us a line at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will of course be releasing all the information about what we will be getting up to as we get closer to the date. But for now, save that date.
My thanks to my wonderful guests today and I will be making every effort to attend the Bloggers Annual Bash next June.. Look forward to seeing you there.
If you would like to be a guest on the Sunday Lunch then please contact via the email in this post.
Hope you have enjoyed the first in the series.
Next week my guests are Sue Vincent and Chris Graham AKA The Story Reading Ape.
Thanks for dropping by and see you soon.