Candlelit Supper

“There are unopened boxes from the time I moved like two years back or so. I never got around opening them. Gosh, I don’t even know what’s in them”  Two years ago when I heard some of my friends say things like that, I thought it was the most ridiculous thing. I mean, how could you not open your boxes? Aren’t you missing things? Don’t you need them? Two years is a really long time! Isn’t two years a tad too long to procrastinate?

Two years back we packed a lot of boxes. “We” included my husband (whose talent does not lie in packing anything), my in-laws (who are extremely helpful and careful and who pack one item per box with more newspaper than Rupert Murdoch could publish), my mother (who had never packed boxes for moving in her life – the only move she made was when she married at 17), and then there was me – hormonal to say the least. I was still in my nesting phase at eight months pregnant (yes, eight) and I had just the plan for everything. Everything came with a ‘this is how you should do it because this is how I want it done’ written all over.

Things got packed, moved, opened and organized … all three weeks before Baby Girl arrived. It’s been two years. I have unopened boxes from the time I moved because I never got around to opening them. I have been busy, very busy. I wondered what’s in them.

So there I was opening boxes and finding ‘new’ things, ‘interesting’ things. There was an asparagus steamer that I had bought and thought I couldn’t live without (I guess I lived). There were innumerable platters, soup bowls, dinner plates, a deep fryer, a Buddhist prayer wheel, and then a full box filled with candles and glass candle holders. I stopped unpacking and sat down with them.

I had forgotten about those candles. They used to adorn the dining table in our old house. The glass candle holders were witness to the many dinners Tony and I had as a couple. They had sat there on the dining table casting their beautiful glow on every supper I had cooked for us no matter how casual it was.  I realized there hasn’t been a single candle on our dinner table since we became parents (child-proofing the home and all). I remembered the good times, the carefree times before we became parents.

So, I picked the heaviest and most uncomplicated glass candle holder from the collection that I thought could be safely dropped by a child without breaking and a candle stick from the box and decided on a supper for us – us three.

Supper for three included a Summer Kale with beans and Pancetta and Bacon wrapped Cornish hen with Garlic and Rosemary.

Summer Kale with Beans and Pancetta

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1 (15 ounce) can navy beans : drained
  • 1 bunch kale : roughly chopped
  • 4 slices pancetta :  chopped
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small shallots : chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic : crushed and finely chopped
  • Chili flakes : ½ teaspoon
  • salt to taste
  • Broth or water : 1 cup
  • Parmigiano Reggiano: Shaved slices for garnish

HERE’S HOW:

  • Cook pancetta in 1 tablespoon olive oil until nice and crispy. Set aside.
  • In the same pan with the pancetta fat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil shallots until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so over medium heat then add chili flakes and stir until garlic is just starting to lightly brown.
  • Add kale and stir and season with half the salt you would use. Cover pan and let the kale wilt a bit then add the rest of the kale and salt.
  • Stir in the beans and broth.
  • Cook covered for about 5 minutes to let the kale get tender, then uncover and cook until desired consistency, about another 3-4 minutes.
  • Add crispy pancetta and stir.
  • Serve, seasoned with pepper, drizzled olive oil and shaved parmigiano reggiano.

Bacon wrapped Cornish Hen with Garlic and Rosemary

YOU WILL NEED ( I cooked one large sized Cornish hen that was enough for 2 adult and 1 toddler servings)

  • Cornish Hen : 1 large sized
  • Bacon : 3 strips, enough to wrap the hen
  • Fresh Rosemary : 2 sprigs and some for garnish
  • Garlic : 6 cloves
  • White wine : 1 cup
  • Butter: 1 tablespoon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil : 1 tablespoon
  • White seedless grapes: small bunches of 2 to 3
  • Cherry Tomatoes  : 8 small

HERE’S HOW:

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Wash and pat dry the hens. Rub hens with 1 tablespoon butter, season with salt and pepper. Place 1 rosemary sprig inside the cavity and wrap the hen with bacon strips.
  • In a roasting pan arrange the garlic on the bottom, place hen and roast in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.  Pour the white wine in the roasting pan.
  • Baste the hen with the juices every now and then. Add the grapes after 15 minutes. Cook for a total of another 20 to 25 minutes or until it is done to your likeness. Cherry Tomatoes can be placed in oven at this time on a separate baking dish drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted for 20-25 minutes.
  • Once the hen is cooked, remove from oven and lightly cover with foil and let rest. Remove garlic and grapes and set on platter. There will be very little pan juices unless you increase the wine amount.
  • Serve with roasted cherry tomatoes, grapes and garlic and a fresh sprig of rosemary.

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8 thoughts on “Candlelit Supper

  1. How gorgeous! Love that you found some hidden memories from your previous home and were able to share your thoughts on those carefree days. The Kale looks sublime (exactly) the sort of food I crave in winter, plus I can never say no to a roast chook either!

  2. Hilarious Debjani, it is like I am reading my own notes 🙂 I sort of had the same thing happen to me a few days ago, i.e found some candles and candle holders… wow once upon I time I used them and now for child-proofing the house everything is gone. Since then I have been planning to have a candle light dinner and of course thanks to logistics with 2 kids, hasnt happened yet. Last night we wanted to eat outside on the deck but instead decided to stay inside and be lazy and watch a movie while we eat since even that is a luxury. I bet you can relate to all of this. Anyways wonderful looking supper, beautiful pictures and lovely writing.

  3. For an overly controlled mind like mine, it would be impossible to sit even for a day before all the boxes are opened and things are in place. But then again, it’s just the two of us. May be later I would also discover memories from an unopened box.

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