One of the things I rather enjoy at the weekend is taking more time to cook dinner, and actually spending more time - as if I don't spend enough time there allready! - in the kitchen. While the kid is enjoying his cartoon shows or movies in the living room, or even with him joining us to cook, we favour more elaborate food over the weekends, things that get us to really dig in and slow cook, as we hang out in the kitchen and chit chat with one another, and make plans, and discuss life. I feel people do not do enough of this, and rather go for grand gestures once in a lifetime, people seem to feel that the display of love resides not in the little things, in the day to day routines, in the enjoyment of one another's company and all the seemingly unimportant conversations that are held over the making of dinner, but in a grandiose gesture of going out to dinner, or offering jewelry and expensive items once in a blue moon. I see it differently, and prefer this approach, and that is why over the weekend, whilst we are slow cooking our lavish meals, we need some sor of amuse bouche, to entertain the palate and silence the hunger...
Weight gain aside, the best way to quickly spruce up some nibbles is to go for some sort of bruschetta or anything in that line. It's easy to concoct, as you actually need very little to come up with tasty treats like these, all it takes is some stale bread - or not so stale, any bread works! - which you will sprinkle with a little olive oil (and you can rub some garlic into it, if you're like me and looove garlic), a little cheese - and this you can go for whatever cheese you have in your fridge, even sandwich cheese will do the trick! - like mozzarela, for instance, which works really well here, and some salami or sausage, or tomatoes - my fave!. I used a big heirloom tomato and some fuet, sprinkled it all with dried oregano, popped them in the oven untill the cheese melted, and made a splash out of it.
As for refreshment, I confess that once the weather gets warmer I'm a freak for sangria, and it's also something so easy to jazz up with whatever you might have in your pantry and fridge! This one was a particular hit with me, as it added up flavours I'm quite particular about. I used elderberry concentrate juice (am I the only one person who is nuts about elderberry? You can get it from Ikea), a splash of golden rum, white wine, a small bottle of sparkly water, lemon, strawberries and cherries. The elderberry makes all the difference, as far as I am concerned, and even my husband who is slightly averse to these cocktail inventions of mine agreed that it was quite refreshing, not overly sweet and very yummy. So are you team sit in the kitchen while dinner's cooking and nibble away on tasty treats as you wait and talk to your family, or would you rather just pop something in the microwave and gorge on it?