Last Friday night we had dear friends in for dinner.  These are the kind of friends that you hardly ever see but each time that you do you seem to be able to pick-up the conversation all over again?
My only problem was; it was the end of the first week back to school, the babes is still getting out of her bed almost everynight and I had to go to a ‘thing’ after work which meant I would get home JUST before my guests arrived.
I honestly thought of just taking everyone to a restaurant but; we all have little kids, would be just shy of exhaustion and the expense would have been obscene.
Here is the good, good and ugly of my entertaining.
The house got a bit of a spritz the night before and I set the table. I don’t have people over who can’t overlook a bit of mess-with the builders (yep, they’re still there everyday), there’s only so much I can do right now. 
Homemade crackers from a baking binge the previous weekend, two kinds of cheese and fruit made our appetizer.
The main course was an awesome leg of lamb (you could use shoulder easily).  I started off with a recipe from and adapted it to fit my lack of attention time. 
The night before I got the spices ready and put them in the slowcooker.  1 preserved lemon (cut out the guts and just use the rind in slivers), 3 cloves garlic, 2 small leeks (or one, medium onion), 1 glass of red wine, 2 tsp. ground ginger, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 T. olive oil, 1 tsp. saffron and 2 tsp. paprika. 

The morning of (on your dash out the door) add 1 dates and a leg of lamb.  Put on the slowcooker for 9 hours at low.

Come home to this lovliness.  But this is where it gets ugly-just the pictures though.  Serve with roasted potatoes and steamed brocolli.

Ok, don’t yell at me.
I know that this is a really ugly photo. 
I know, it’s dark and sort of blurry BUT this is what happens when it is late and you’re trying to keep a kiddo happy, feed a group and juggle a glass of wine (the wine was needed). 
What I’m pouring on is a lovely and quick sauce made with a handful of fresh chopped mint and the same of parsley, 2 T. cider vinegar and a pinch of sugar.  It tastes FAR better than I photograph 🙂
For dessert; my 20 second souffles.  I’ve further refined these lovelies by adding 1 tsp. of icing sugar to the egg whites when they are stiff and 1/2 tsp of orange zest into the chocolate.  Ahhh…
Start the dishwasher while the daddies tag team bathtime, watch other people’s children calmly go to sleep and stay there (wonder to self why you suck so much and your kid doesn’t do this) but most importantly enjoy good friends as much as  possible.