Thane, Andy and Reza

Posted by Jeni in | 5 October 2014

I'd packed up my dressing room, everything was ready to roll, two more shows and the I was homeward bound.

Andy Bates a perfectly proportioned blue eyed cook brought us party food. A discussion about the difference between a dip and hummus, took place over Broad Bean dip and Smoked Aubergine hummus.

Thane Prince, the Queen of Jam and Preserves, told us why a dip was a dip and not a hummus. I piled my spoon with broad beans and aubergine not giving a tuppeny as to whether my beans and aubergines were dipped or not. They both tasted stunning.

This was easy party food at its ultimate best. Mr. Bates served up Halibut with Saffron Beurre Blanc alongside mighty Mussels and leviathan Langoustine on a bed of Samphire.

Ms Thane told us to strip the samphire between our teeth like she had done as a child living on the coast.

I stripped the samphire as I was instructed then proceeded to strip most of Halibut off the bone. The biggest fish for the biggest appetites. It was a perfect centre piece.

But if that was not enough we were introduced to an Avocado & Smoked Maple Bacon Sandwich with Bacon jam.

There is no way any talk can ensue when a butty of such magnitude is introduced into the equation. Suffice to say Andy Bates left us in a state of baconite bliss.

Thane talked drinks and made us a Mango and Lemon chutney which we ate with cheese - all by way of welcoming our last chefette the ebullient Reza Mahammad.

Spiced Blinis with Smoked Salmon and Spiced Crab with Coconut Starters washed down with Tom Yum Coke...

It was Saturday afternoon the light was fading and still I found a vacuum that needed to be filled.

When the three of us sat down to Marinated Spatchcock Quails on a bed of Aromatic Rice with Dried Cherries, Sultanas and Pine Nuts, you could have heard a pin drop as we quaffed the quails, little by little and dipped into the jeweled ice whilst sipping on Thane's Christmas Cordial.

It was September 20th and Christmas had been consumed, devoured and ingested.

With just 74 days to go I had vowed to make every single one of the dishes, give or take a dip or two - or was that hummus?

The 'Sweet' series had been filmed, the goodbyes made and the car booked.

I had a driver who I swear was either a Tuareg, a Gurkah or an Himalayan Sherpa. He pounded round the roads of Hampshire, Kent and into Sussex with the skill of a camel driver on the Sands of the Sahara. The scenery whistled by, my destination loomed.

I was squealing with delight as I slid from left to right, holding onto the seat in front. He laughed I cheered, had the old git driven like that I would have divorced him but I was full of festive kindness and my drivers ability to take those bends was nothing short of miraculous.

We arrived home one hour and fifteen minutes later. Compliments flew, car unloaded and I was back in my little cottage.

The fridge empty but my belly full. The house silent, the cats alive and my recovery from 24 sumptuous meals was to begin.

I needed a break, but was I going to get one?

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

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