Sunday 29 June
This was our last day in Oxford (sob), so we spent it fittingly: eating two different dinners.
We started our excursions with Diane and Dag, who took us and Jonathan out into the countryside to Common Leys farm. This is a family-run place where you can stroll out into the fields to meet an alpaca or an albino rhea, the garden borders are full of cabbages and lettuces, chickens peck under the tables on the lawn, and you can greet a future roast dinner (like these Oxford Sandy and Black pigs) by name.
We started by sharing appetizers: a stack of goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, three fried cheeses with leaves and beet relish, and a pot of smooth mackerel paté.
Allie is in charge of the kitchen, and we had two of her Sunday roasts: one beef and one pork with crackling and sage stuffing; both came with light Yorkshire puddings, batons of roast parsnip, and a little side plate of crisp, steamed vedge - cauliflower, courgette, cabbage, carrot, and green beans (which don't begin with C).
We then shared desserts: strawberry cheesecake with ice cream and a clever cocoa-dusted plate, chocolate sponge with ice cream, and maple ice cream studded with walnuts.
Once Diane and Dag dropped us off (taking with them whatever we hadn't finished in the fridge), we spent a few hours packing up until we went out at eight for our next dinner: Brasserie Blanc with Priscilla, her Mom, John, and Sofia.
We wanted to keep this light, so we went for Maman Blanc's two-course menu, starting with French onion tart with green salad, and a smoked beet and fresh curd salad with cos lettuce & chives.
Mains were a leg of corn fed chicken rolled into a little ballotine, sauced with tomatoes and summer vegetables, and lemon-thyme potatoes; and poached baby plaice in white wine and herb jus, with more summer vegetables and new potatoes. A glass of wine came with each, and we supplemented that with a couple of bottles of Sauvignon Blanc (how suitable!) for the table.
It was sad to say goodbye, but we hope that we will meet our Oxford friends again soon, and share good food on both sides of the Atlantic.