Shaved Asparagus & Fennel Salad with Prawns

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Earlier this week, I prepared a dinner for six that I’d offered for our island’s annual fundraiser auction.  My original intent was for a homey 3-course dinner.  As the bidding kept going, and the price topped out at $400, I felt that I could do more.  My sister and I created a 6 course plated meal instead.

As I mulled over the menu, detailing it over and over again, I reminded myself that it was the end of August, and that the meal should speak to the time of year, when the evenings are cooler, the sun is set well before bedtime, and yet we are still desperate to hold on to some of the laziness that summer offers, even if just for a few more days. We’re looking forward to the arrival of fall meals, and eating them around the dining table, inside instead of out.

The meal started with a watermelon and heritage tomato amuse bouche, followed by this salad, moving to a chilled avocado bisque, followed by a plate with sautéed late summer vegetables and grilled chicken with fresh blueberry sauce, on to a plate with roasted mushrooms, shallots, and garlic with grilled strip loin and greens beans as we moved from late summer into fall, with the last dish being crème brûlée with pistachio meringues with an miniature fruit salad of early fall fruits.

Listening to the social chat of the guests, with the drawn out bits of silence as they tuck into the meal, is one of my favourite soundtracks, so easy to work away with it playing in the background. Continue reading