Evening Standard Magazine
The last year of the decade has been a busy one. Tatjana and I rang in the year with Samantha Phillips, and Esai Morales, on Sam’s talk show, The Single Life…

Sam, Julie Anne, Tatjana, and Esai

Then we did a fabulous dinner party for Dad’s 75th in Palm Springs, and ended the month with an invasion of LA from some of my favorite English friends.

Ashley, Linda, Jimmy, Lisa, Terri, Jane, and Daia

In February, I attended The Recording Academy’s “Rock My Soul” Grammy party with Nile Rodgers, swooned with the rest of them at Jimmy Demmers live at Vibrato, and savoured lemon-lavender cupcakes at mine for Valentines Day.
Nancy, Terry, Lisa, June, Julia, Lorenza, Julie Anne, Sam, and Jean with Sug
Then I hit the half century mark with a superb impromptu soiree thanks to Normandie Keith, and watched Dita Von Teese perform at Amanda Eliasch’s alluring party for the launch of her utterly divine book of poetry, Cloak & Dagger Butterflies.

I also went to several Oscar parties (totally not as glamorous as they seem… far too crowded to be exciting). HEADS UP PEOPLE! Wearing an evening gown or tux is not an excuse to forgo the obligatory “excuse me” when mowing down people in your path to get to Brad and Angelina! I honestly felt like an over-dressed linebacker for the Saints!

Celebrating Mom’s 75th birthday
In addition, I attended an exquisite dinner party in Tuxedo Park thrown by Housewives of New York’s Brad Boles (he was my gay husband before Jill’s), and a surprise 75th birthday bash for Mom in Arizona…. March was a very busy month!

One of my favorite evenings of the year was spent atMohamed Anwar Hadid’s palatial villa in Beverly Hills with Jimmy Demers and Quincy Jones… virtuoso pianist, Carter Larsen gave us all a private concert. The most embarrassing moment had to be singing to Josh Groban on his birthday… I apologized for my appalling voice, to which he countered “don’t worry darling… it was more like a rap than singing anyway”.

Julie Anne Rhodes, Lee Lindsey, Gene Simmons, and Sam Bradley

Seeing Sam Bradley perform during 5 sold out nights in LA last May was “a trip”… women (some my age) screaming and squealing with delight for Tatjana’s life long friend- I’ve known him since he was 5 weeks old!

Julie Anne & Tatjana Rhodes at the Barge House show
June was all about Tatjana’s art show at Barge House, Oxo Tower Wharf in Southbank, London. Followed by a quick trip to the breathtakingly beautiful Croatia before catching up with all my London friends. Highlights included attending Maria Grachvogel’s Studio 54 style wedding, Tatjana’s college graduation (and lunch with Nick and his mother at Locatelli’s afterwards), Mick Jones Rock-n-Roll Library party, and a superb dinner party my friend Jake Panyaiotou threw for me at The Wellington, his killer club-decorated by artist Damien Hirst. Thank you Jake!

Tatjana & Julie Anne Rhodes with Emily Cash at The Wellington

The whole year featured too many fabulous parties in Normandieville to count. Then I caught Disco Fever in September, was converted by The Conscious Cook in October… I even found time to do a little entertaining of my own.

Amanda, Ryan, Tammi, Jimmy, Marla, Tim, and Julie Anne
I was a little piglet for Thanksgiving; one dinner at Normandie Keith’s and another at James Newton Howard’s after. I think 2009 has been a vintage year!

Julie Anne Rhodes at Disco Fever
After a blur of parties and screenings this month including a fabulous Christmas Eve dinner at Amanda Eliasch’s. I’m taking a breather now, and building my strength back up for the New Year with this soup … at very least it is the perfect winter warmer.

Beefy Barley & Mushroom Soup
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 pounds short ribs of beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 quarts of beef broth
  • 1 28 oz can can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 3 cups mushroom blend, re-hydrated (reserving liquid for the soup)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1). Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season beef short ribs with salt and pepper, and brown in batches. Set aside on a foil tented platter.

2). Add remaining olive oil, onions, celery, carrots, red pepper, and garlic. Cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add beef back in, cooking an additional 2 minutes.

3). Add beef broth, diced tomatoes, bay leaf, pearl barley, mushrooms, and reserved mushroom liquid to the soup. Stir well and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf, adjust seasoning to taste, and serve hot.

Serving Suggestions: This is a robustly filling soup on it’s own, but you could serve with freshly baked crusty rolls or biscuits.
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