I hosted a dinner party for eight girls from my hypnobirthing class on Saturday night. One of our gang is moving to Scotland, and we wanted to send her off properly, and it felt like the right time for us all to take stock and celebrate how much we have achieved and how far we have come together.
Birthing and baby classes are a funny one – they can put you together with so many different people from so many different walks of life. Meeting a kindred spirit can sometimes take time, and some baby groups can even end up making you feel more alone. I think, in the end, it’s about two things – a shared parenting style, or a shared goal – but also, crucially, understanding and openness – a different perspective is often exactly what you need. Meeting people, and connecting with them, is truly one of the great joys of motherhood, and for me, one of the most rewarding.
Our little hypnobirthing group – we call ourselves the ‘Hippos’ – have become a tight knit unit, despite our many differences, and some of the late night messages on our What’s App group have lit up my dark world like a beacon of warmth and love when I felt at my lowest. Some of us have three children, some of us only plan on having one, some of us had c-sections and some of us had natural births, some of us breastfed and some of us bottlefed, but none of this really matters when each of these people seem to really have each others backs. And that has been such a blessing on this crazy twin journey so far.
So, anyway, to dinner. It was luckily warm enough for us to eat outside and I had great fun lighting lanterns and nightlights, covering the table in fresh seasonal flowers and getting out all my favourite mismatched china. Because there were a few complicated dietary requests, I spent some time pondering the menu and hit on a selection of dips, which could be eaten with lettuce, chicory or flatbreads, followed by chicken cooked two ways and a risotto, and finishing with strawberry granita and icecream.
The granita was a total winner and so easy to make, roasting strawberries to get the flavour out of even the earliest and stubbornest strawberry. Served simply with icecream and fresh mint it was delicious refreshing, but sweet and moreish. That said, for me, (and possibly everyone), the star of the show was the Green Goddess dip – a pungent, zingy winner of a dip packed with garlic, avocado, watercress and fresh herbs. I used a recipe taken from Building Feasts, a London-based supper club and blog, (who also provided the Strawberry Granita recipe which you can find here).
The Green Goddes recipe, which has been honed by Hanna (who runs the blog with her business partner Jeremy) after a few trials, is simple and easy to follow – I’m a big fan of things that say: “Put all the ingredients in a bowl…” – but it is also open to interpretation. Hanna uses basil, dill, chives and parsley for the herb quota, but you could also add in coriander, tarragon or chervil. I’ve pasted the Green Goddess recipe below – make lots of it, it keeps for a couple of days, and serve it to all the goddess you know and love, whoever they may be.
Green Goddess Dip
Feel free to play around with the herbs depending on what you are serving. Tarragon and chevril feature in the original recipe for the dressing, but some others used corriander or mint. Tailor it to your taste!
If you want to use this as a dressing rather than a dip or a sauce, add 60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil when blending the ingredients.
6 sprigs parsley
6 sprigs basil
10 chive stems
6 sprigs dill
30g (1 cup) watercress
1 clove garlic
2 spring onions
2 anchovy fillets
1/2 ripe avocado
60ml (1/4 cup) soured cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp white wine/cider vinegar
salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil to taste
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree. I prefer to use a blender as I find it chops the herbs more finely. It does not have any affect on the taste – it is merely a visual bias. Taste and add salt, pepper and olive oil to taste.