Go to Anna's for the perfect Roast Beef Dinner

Today’s recipe: Maltese carrots

A photo of a Roast beef dinner plate.

We were recently invited to Anna’s for a meal and were treated to a really super supper. Gaynor and Chris, and Eli and Pierre were there too. Anna has led (and is still leading) a very exciting life, a life that includes safaris to Africa. She has lived in Paris, Malta, Morocco, to name but a few, and always has interesting stories to tell. She went on a safari in Botswana recently with “his gorgeousness” (the “slightly younger” tour guide) and tells of going to the open air bathroom in the rain – you try and finish the paperwork with wet toilet paper!!

Ah, the joys of camp life. My biggest worry with showering in those outdoor shower areas is that the flaps will open and all the animals will see me naked and get such fright that they’ll run away. Anna’s next destination is Zambia where she’ll be staying at a camp formerly run by a friend (Norman) of a friend (Deirdre). The late Norman had two lions as pets! They were abandoned by their mother (or maybe she was killed by poachers?) so he raised them and Deirdre has a photo of him walking them on leashes. Four year old, fully grown male lions…I am still in awe.

Anna's dinner all at table

Gaynor and Chris have also lived in many places around the world, including the Virgin Islands. After having their house blown away (at least twice) by hurricanes, they decided to build elsewhere! Actually, this isn’t entirely true – seems you can get used to anything and Chris isn’t too fussed about hurricanes. They now have a gorgeous property outside of Samatan (this is the village that has the market I wrote about in the post “Breakfast at the market”) and in the summertime the village has a fireworks display (almost) in their back yard. They generally host a massive party for the event with live music and bags of fun.

Currently they are battling “wild animals” of their own. A family of chickens has decided to call their property home and have moved in. The (large) problem with free ranging chickens on your veranda is that they poop. At random. A lot. They come onto the veranda to steal the cats food and should this not be there, they all line up at the window looking inside for the food. I think they need to start practicing a different version of the song
“10 green bottles sitting on a wall,
10 green bottles sitting on a wall,
and if one green bottle should accidentally fall,
there’ll be nine green bottles sitting on the wall”
if you get what I mean….

While on the subject of chickens, Eli and Pierre introduced me to a very interesting French saying: “Elle a cuisse leger” which basically means “She has a light thigh” or is of light virtue if you translate it to actually mean something! The word “cuisse” is the word for the thigh portion of a chicken if you were wondering how I made this ginormous leap… Eli also told us that she takes her elderly neighbour for a Sunday drive to get her out of the house and this dear old lady considers that the only reason to go for a drive is to see a good cemetery. Can’t say I agree with her 100%, but I must admit that I too like visiting cemeteries. No, not in my witch garb, silly, I just think they are beautiful places.

Now what definitely won’t land you in the cemetery is Anna’s excellent cooking. Firstly we all stood around chatting, drinking Bubbly and eating great nibbles. I have a tactic of passing the nibbles around so that I always have them under MY control. Mustard flavored potato chips, pork pie, an eggy thingy – basically from a calorie point of view I didn’t need supper, but..... Anyway, everybody else was being so sensible and not eating the nibbles, I had to make up for all of them!

For starters we had a lovely salad with lambs lettuce, avocado, salad and mozzarella. Then Anna made a roast beef dinner which was cooked just right – it didn’t moo back at you, but it was nice and rare and we all loved it. She served it with an onion gravy (I LOVE gravy), roast potatoes, sautéed cabbage, and Maltese carrots (my version of the recipe to follow). The potatoes were parboiled and then roasted in the oven with oil and fennel seeds – a really super addition that I have never had before and it really worked well. It’s also a Maltese recipe and I will certainly be adding fennel to my roast potatoes in the future. For dessert we had strawberries with mint and Beaujolais wine served with ice cream. We had several different wines, including a lovely Spanish one pictured here.

Spanish wine bottle

Everything was exactly to my liking, so thank you Anna for a lovely meal and a lovely evening!

(Serves 4 as a side dish)

8 carrots, sliced lengthwise
Juice and rind of 1 orange
250ml / 1 cup of stock
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp butter

1. Mix all ingredients except the butter, bring to the boil and then simmer till the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. (You can use less stock and more orange juice if you prefer.)

2. Remove the carrots from the liquid, mix with the butter and serve.

Easy and delicious!

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