Lo Jardinièr and I have both turned 60 this year so we thought it was time for a party. We’ve been planning it for months and inviting friends and family from the village and around and from Wales, London and the Basque country too. Finally on Saturday night everything and everyone came together and with a lot of help from a lot of people we had a fantastic evening that went on into the small hours in the garden belonging to some very good friends. A threatened thunderstorm turned up 24 hours early so we didn’t have to find shelter for the fire and all the guests after all – everything went to plan. I’ve long wanted to have a meshwi – a whole lamb roast – although I’d never done this before, but fortunately our friends B. and M-J have done this many times and they took charge of the cooking, starting the fire at about 3 in the afternoon, stuffing and sewing up the lamb with couscous, putting it all on the spit and feeding the fire with the vine wood we’d collected, basting the meat and then carving it – the latter with a lot of interested help and in the dark too by the time it was cooked!
This was the main course for 40 people, that followed entrées we’d made – rice salad, felafel, tomato salad, ratatouille, charcuterie. The lamb, specially ordered direct from a farm in the Aveyron by a wonderful arrangement with the caveau at the Domaine des Pascales, where we buy wine and where I exhibited my photos earlier in the summer, was perfect – tender, tasty, perfectly cooked. We followed it with Roquefort and goats’ cheeses from Mas Rolland and then Turkish pastries I’d made and local peaches and nectarines. We also had our friend Ray and his excellent jazz band to entertain us before and after the meal. It was a night to remember!