To celebrate the end of our fifth birthday celebrations, Absent but not Forgotten revisited our Thirteenfridays project, initiated in 2013, in which we celebrated Friday 13th with thirteen themed meals.
Our very first exhibition was in The Last Gallery in Llangadog, Carmarthenshire in 2010 so we prevailed once again on Mick and Julie Ann at the the gallery to host a finale meal for our 2015 events.
We invited thirteen guests to join us on Friday 13 November to enjoy a feast of thirteen. November the 13th is also the saints day for Homobonus – patron saint of shoemakers amongst other things, which is particularly relevant to our location – an ex-cobblers shop.
We started the evening by welcoming our guests in from the cold with a Swedish glögg – warm spiced fruit juices, fruits and nuts and a tot of Absolut vodka: Red grape juice, apple juice, cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, star anise, ginger root, almonds, raisins, prunes, orange quarters, sugar, vodka.
We also served a platter of 13 Anti-Christi appetisers: Black olives, green olives, sun dried tomatoes, roast peppers, bell peppers, cornichons, artichokes, baby beets, silverskin onions, pickled garlic, cherry tomato and cucumber.
The table plan was determined by a lottery of numbered badges which corresponded to a numbered bottle of home-brewed country wine at each place. During the evening we swapped and tasted each to try and guess the flavours – one each of: Plum & Damson, Elderflower, White & Blackcurrant, Meadowsweet, Grape, Lemon, Elderberry, Lavender, Elderberry & Blackberry, Kiwi Fruit, Blackcurrant, Marigold, Blackberry.
The main course was a thirteen dish buffet of vegetarian and fish dishes:
13 ingredient tabouleh – Bulgar wheat, stock, olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, parsley, mint, cucumber, red onion, tomatoes, salt, pepper
13 mini egg tortilla – Caramelised red onion and goats cheese and stilton, spinach and baby tomato
13 chilli lime prawn kebabs
13 hallumi & fig crostini – garnished with pomegranate and fresh coriander leaves
13 vegetable, sage and Parmesan pasties
13 ingredient winter slaw – carrots, fennel bulb, radishes, celeriac, white cabbage, red cabbage, red onion, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, dill , Greek yoghurt, mustard, black pepper
13 ingredient superfood salad – sweet potatoes, olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, quinoa, broccoli, walnuts, pomegranate, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mixed sprouts, fresh coriander, avocado
13 ingredient Mediterranean vegetable tart – olive oil, onion, garlic, aubergine, courgette, red pepper, goats cheese, Parmesan, tomatoes, capers, smoked paprika, flour, butter
13 ingredient lentil loaf – lentils, egg, olive oil, garlic, onion, vegetable stock, green pepper, carrot, celery, thyme, bay leaves, smoked paprika, cracked pepper
13 wild salmon fillets with tomato salsa
13 ingredient bean & brown rice salad – Short grain brown rice, black beans, red onion, garlic, red pepper, kidney beans, grated carrot, lettuce leaves, baby plum tomatoes, parsley, cucumber, caraway seeds, sesame seeds
13 couscous stuffed peppers
13 pieces of rosemary focaccia
During the evening we projected a series of film clips onto the gallery wall which included dining scenes from 13 black and white horror films
Our evening spectacular were the 13 desserts all made by ‘Queen of Cakes’ Kirsten Hinks – a truly amazing spread introduced by the ‘Omen’ soundtrack from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.
Roger (one of our guests) commented:
“I think I ate all thirteen cakes, cracking. What a delightful sugar high. The company was wonderful and the food. I ate a focaccia that was the very apogee of human baking. When art and stomachs mingle…”
The tradition of thirteen to dinner carries with it a curse – the first to leave the table is the first to die. To mitigate this sting in the tail a 14th place must be laid for an unseen guest – our unseen guest dined in the window of The Last Gallery.
Thank you to our lovely guests for their company, to Mick and Julie Ann Sheridan at The Last Gallery for hosting us and Kirsten Hinks for three straight days of cooking.