February 17, 2010

Dinner with Friends

Posted in Children, Family, Food, Friendships, Good people, Health, Recipes, Serbia tagged , , , at 8:08 am by Liliana

Dinner with friends

Dinner with friends

A few nights ago, we had dinner with old friends. Between the nine of us, three generations were represented. It was one of those magical evenings when no one was  in a hurry or longing to be somewhere else. The fire was burning in the fireplace, Ella was singing on the CD player, appetizers and wine glasses set out. We sampled home-made hummus and pita bread, had a glass of wine or mineral water, and caught up on the news of the past few weeks.

When we sat down to eat, everything about the table made us want to sit and linger for a long time. The dishes made me think of Tuscany. The menu took me to Serbia and the memory of my mother. I haven’t had home-made, stuffed grape leaves since my mother died six years ago, and the pungent flavor brought joy and memories of childhood. There was also chicken with mushroom sauce, grilled vegetables and wild rice. And for dessert, a wonderful orange cake; people kept having seconds, and not a crumb was left over.

After dinner, we sat in a circle in the living room, had coffee and talked. Conversation meandered between the economy, job losses, the state of the world. My niece will be starting college next year and we wondered about the future of education and various options for young people. Our conversation was earnest and serious, but no one was anxious. When we left to go home later that night, the winter seemed to have lost some of its bite.

Dairy-free orange cake

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ c. brown sugar
  • 2/3 c. oil (corn, canola, or similar)
  • 2 large oranges (for zest and juice)
  • ½ t baking powder
  • ½ t baking soda
  • 1 ½ cup flour

Preheat oven to 375 and grease a springform pan.

Beat eggs and sugars until light. Add oil. Add zest of the two oranges and then squeeze them (you need 2/3 cup orange juice, so you might need to add a bit) and combine well. Add the dry ingredients and combine well.

Pour into springform pan and bake for about 40-45 minutes, until cake tests dry in the middle.

When cooled, unmold and top with the glaze:

  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 T orange juice

Stir together until smooth and dribble over cake with a spoon.



  1. Dave Harrison said,

    Sounds like one of those magical evenings everyone wishes they could have.

  2. Jelena said,

    It WAS a wonderful evening, and you capture the mood of it well. I truly don’t know where I’d be without an evening like that now and then. Problems with the economy, politics, and life’s permutations come and go, but good friends are forever. That’s as close to spirituality as I get///

    • Liliana said,

      All I can say is – thank goodness for good friends! Hugs to you, girlfriend.

  3. Branka said,

    I made the cake the next day but, Joe thinks that Jelena’s was still a little better. It was a great evening, thank you Jelena and tetka Mina!

  4. lionel said,

    You’re really wonderful, if there were only people with so much empathy like you and your friends in the world, there would be no wars, no cruelty.
    And you are a real foodie!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: