It's raining heavily - in fact, it hasn't really managed to get light yet today, at all - but in my little kitchen-corner of the globe, it's very cheery indeed. It's warm, it's messy, the phone never stops and songs from The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions (feat. Seu George) are floating through the CD speakers, a soundtrack which really can only mean one thing: there's an almighty cook-off underway.
There's a huuuuge homemade vegetarian moussaka in the fridge; all it needs now is a 40-minute blast in the oven, and it's ready to go. On the stove, a chorizo and cannelini bean casserole is simmering and reducing; hopefully, this means that the various depth-charge flavours within the red wine, fresh vine tomato and smoked Spanish paprika sauce that binds it all together will be developing nicely. A glut of courgettes from the Farmer's Market have been roasted with rosemary; all they'll need is quick shuffle with some chunks of feta, a sprinkle of pinenuts and ten minutes on the top shelf of the oven while the moussaka is finishing off, and they'll be sublime. Last but not least (it was the first dish to be prepared, in fact) there's a lemon cheesecake ice cream in the freezer - a recipe I adapted from Nigel Slater's 'Kitchen Diaries', and one which I'm now proud to call my own. Oh yes, it's been a busy morning, but in the loveliest of ways. What better pastime can there possibly be (apart from, if you're like me, writing) than cooking? Especially when you're really looking forward to sharing the results of your labour with good friends.
Tomorrow night, I'm hosting a supper in honour of two excellent friends of mine from Liverpool - a long-term couple who went through the mill and back (emotionally and physically) in 2007, and are now looking forward to much brighter days. Fortunately, they're basking in a much-needed blast of sunshine now, regardless of what's tippling from the sky. So they're coming here for a grown-up sleepover, and I think one of the GP boys might be joining us (I hope so - I love mixing good friends with good friends). Daphne'll be here too, fresh from a week in Madeira with his beloved. Add Mike (and his cocktails) to the mix, and that'll be eight, in all, for supper - hence the huge amounts of food, with sturdy veggie options seeing as one quarter of our party are face-shirkers. So why not do all the prep this evening? Because there's a leaving do going on at the Theatre Royal, and I want to go and sob buckets as my boss (in that job, anyway) signs off in favour of pastures new.
And that, my dearest Disco Bunnies, is how my weekend is panning out so far - and I've yet to even mention the comedian I'm reviewing on Sunday night at Bath's Comedy Cavern. Is it too much of a pun to say that the weekend is going splashingly well already? Hope yours is equally good fun.