I love the kids getting together with their buddies.
It is one of the greatest benefits of the kids going to the local school. The friendships they build are with people that live in very close proximity. It makes playing with friends after school so much easier.
Now my eldest has gone to High school that changes significantly.
The kids come from a bigger area. Still reasonably local but not just a couple of blocks away.
When any of my kids ask for friends over I love to be able to say yes.
I can't always but it is very important to me that my kids feel good about welcoming their friends into our home.
I pretty much have an open door policy. I love my home to be a place that others want to be in.
A place that feels warm and inviting.
A place to share.
I have a Mexican tin sign above my door that says "Mi Casa Es tu Casa".
It is very very important to me that my house is a HOME not a showpiece. I have written about it before here.
And I am aware that as my children grow older the feeling that you are welcome to bring your friends around is not so common. I really really hope my kids continue to want their friends to come here.
It made me laugh when the first thing my son asked about his friend coming over was "Whats for dinner on Saturday?"
I looked at him with a "You SURELY know me better than that" kind of look.
I don't really plan dinner. In fact I am really really bad- like actually hopeless- at making plans!
Dinner is very rarely planned and is more of a what's in the fridge/freezer and away we go type affair.
It drives my 11yo mad!!
Virtually on queue every single day as he arrives home from school he asks "Whats for dinner Mum?"
I'm kind of surprised he still asks as the response is always pretty much the same.
It goes something like this....(Ok. it ALWAYS goes like this).
"I don't know yet. I'll have a look what's in the fridge."
But I understood that my eldest wanted to make an occasion of his buddys' sleepover. I asked if he had a special request. It's nice to make it special. I get that. So I caved in and PLANNED dinner!
We are having my slow cooked Lamb Souvlaki.
I hope that my kids continue to invite their friends over......the more the merrier I say.
We decided on this dinner as it's an everybody loves it kind of meal- unless of course you are a vegetarian!
GOURMETGIRLFRIEND'S SLOW COOKED LAMB SOUVLAKI & TZATSIKI:
A friend of mine came around a couple of weeks ago to get advice about cooking Souvlaki at home. I sent her away with this recipe. She said it was a huge success. And it is really easy. I hope you find the same!
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- 1 lamb shoulder (preferably with the bone for extra flavour, but not necessary)
- 5 (or more if you are like me!) cloves garlic
- 1 bunch oregano (if you can get hold of the Dried Greek oregano use that in it's place but use less as it is FULL of flavour)
- 2 lemons
- S & P
- 1 pack of Souvlaki wrappers
- 1 onion sliced finely
- 1 cucumber, cut into small dice.
- 1 cos lettuce
- 3-4 tomatoes, sliced
- yoghurt (buy the Plain thick Greek style & if you want it to be lovely and thick then drain desired amount in a muslin cloth. This creates a gorgeous thick garlic sauce but is not necessary)
Preheat oven to 140C.
Add 4 cloves of garlic, oregano, rind of 1 & 1/2 lemons and a 1/2 teaspoon salt to a pestle and mortar. Grind till a paste. Add some pepper ( I prefer White but black is fine). Reserve 2 tablespoons of this mix for the garlic sauce (Tzatsiki)
Add EVOO and the juice of one lemon and rub really well into the lamb shoulder.
Place into an ovenproof dish and cover well with alfoil. Place in oven and cook for 3 1/2 hours.
At this point remove alfoil and turn up oven temp to 170C for a half hour. This will allow the outside of the lamb to caramelise.
Cover and let stand for 10 minutes while you make the Tzastiki.
Add desired amount of yoghurt to a bowl. After you have finely diced the cucumber, squeeze as much of the juice as you can out- this helps retain a thick sauce. Add to yoghurt. Add the reserved spice &garlic mix from earlier and stir through well. Drizzle a little extra EVOO over the top.
Add a little EVOO to a non stick pan and gently fry each souvlaki wrap on one side till just brown before placing on a platter. this keeps the wrap soft enough to fold without breaking and adds lovely flavour and texture. Place ingredients onto the browned side.
I was introduced to this song by a special friend who GETS the whole idea of having a house that other people want to be in. A HOME. My lovely friend visited today for coffee. It was lovely...as always.
This song makes me cry. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
I'm so grateful she shared it with me. I actually can't believe I didn't know it before.
It's my turn to share it with you. Listen very carefully to the words........& then pass me a tissue. thanks.