We toasted our recently engaged friends - the reason for the get-together in the first place - and tucked into the three breads provided for the meal: Foccacia with rosemary and garlic; thick, handmade grissini (crispy breadsticks); and a crispy flatbread called "streghe" - witches. All of it tasty enough to make a meal of, if necessary. Of course, it wasn't.
My starter was a pasta made with rosemary - big chunks of the herb gave it a wonderfully savory flavor - served with mushrooms and a sauce made from pureed cannellini beans. Sooo good! Alle had a risotto made with wine, thyme, sausage and Parmigiano Reggiano, served over a pumpkin puree. It was good enough that I wished I'd gotten it too - not instead, but too!
My main dish was brasato di guancialino - braised veal cheek - served with roasted potatoes, two quail eggs, small onions and a polenta muffin with a bit of cheese inside. The meat and the sauce which accompanied it were both rich and savory - positively delectable! Yum! Alle had veal tongue, which came with similar accompaniments - except his polenta muffin was made with pumpkin, too. That was pretty tasty, but the veal tongue? Um, no, thanks. One day I'll be courageous enough to try, but not this time.
Dessert was also wonderful, of course. I had torta a mele e amaretti: a small apple cake - just diced apple in an amaretto cake, with warm vanilla syrup poured around it. Mmmm... Alle's selection was fiordilatte agli amaretti e caffè, a semi-frozen sweet served with amaretto and coffee drizzled over it. Mmmm....!
Good food, good friends, good times. The best recipe possible for a wonderful evening.
We made it home after one a.m., still pleasantly stuffed from the meal - not uncomfortably so, either. (At no point in the evening did we ever feel like we'd had too much or overindulged.) I went to check my mail - as is my habit - before bed, and found to my delight that my launch date had been confirmed: I would have the launch in the place I'd hoped, right in the heart of London!
That I slept at all is nothing short of a miracle. Ha! But I did, after posting the updates here on the site and on Facebook. This morning was my usual routine - breakfast, check mail, update as necessary. Then, remembering something from the conversation on the way home last night, I decided to go try on clothes so I could plan my outfits for the launch and for the other readings I'll be doing in November.
Still buzzing with anticipation, still pleased with last night's wonderful dinner, I let my attention slacken at the wrong moment.
BOOOM!!! SPLAT!!! Those are the sounds I made - or seemed to, anyway - as I tripped over the box and managed to crack my knee (and most of the rest of me) on the marble floor in my office.
Now I'm sitting up in bed, with an icepack on my knee, hoping I'll make it to my meeting at the school tonight. I'm aching all over, of course - it was a hard enough fall to daze me for a bit - but ultimately I think I'll be fine. I'll have some "owies" for a while, though.
Yeah, I'm still happy. And I'll be forced to take it a tiny bit easier, sure. But I'm still excited and can't wait to get out there and share Ask Me if I'm Happy with the world.
So, ciao for now!