Fran and John are excellent hosts and very easy to visit, and provided the nine of us with startling quantities of assorted eastern European foods and insane quantities of vodkas in many strange and exotic flavours. There was a marvellous pie filled with some bird or other, partridge or pheasant or something similar, I think. There was an interesting beetroot salad. There was a dish containing mushrooms, garlic and napalm. There were olives with tabasco. There was chocolate ginger cheesecake. There was lots of other food. Oh, and lots of different flavours of vodka.
There was careful instruction in the ancient Eastern art of toasting. It seems that you have to have in one hand a shot glass with some flavoured vodka in it, and in the other a bit of food which you think might accompany it well. The toast is proposed, and then you breathe in, you knock back the vodka, you put the food in your mouth, and then you breathe out slowly to enable the vodka's flavoured fumes to mix with the taste of the food. Intriguing.
I think we had in excess of twenty toasts, which means I must have consumed, at a minimum, twenty shot glasses of vodka, although there was drinking between the toasts too. We sat down to eat at about 8pm and (stepping briefly outside to watch the fireworks over the city at midnight) rose from the table sometime after 1am ... and with a couple of hours of conversation to follow, we finally retired a little after 4am.
If I'm in the country when there's an opportunity to go there for something similar again, I'd be very pleased so to do. I understand that our hostess will be posting recipes and so on a little later -- I'll provide a link when that happens.