Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?


“Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,”

For me, there is so much enjoyment to be derived from having friends or family around to share a meal. I enjoy the process from inception, the seed of any idea…who might come over? Then what shall we eat and drink, shall it be outdoors or in….which plates or platter shall we use and so on. There are times when you do all this planning to a lesser or greater degree, it’s always lovely to see people and ‘break bread’ but sometimes it is exactly what you hope….and that really is satisfying.

So the idea to see my cousin Cheesecake and The Roofer this week was, just really about getting together for a catch-up and their coming to see what we had managed to do with our garden. The addition of my cousin Louie and his delightful girlfriend Delia, and then the arrival of cousin Dewey added to the charm, volume, and laughter. We aimed for a really lazy, drawn out lunch made up of things that would not mean our being in the kitchen but rather langushing under the umbrella with everyone else…

So progressing along a sort of ‘Italian Family’ theme we settle on some beautiful Burrata to start. An Italian artisan cheese formed of a mozzarella sack encasing softer mozzarella and cream that, once broken, yields it’s oozing centre. To go with, we piled a platter with heritage tomatoes of all colours shapes and sizes, chose a light dressing with some white wine vinegar, a little shallot, a little sugar and some decent olive oil. A sprinkled seasoning of pink peppercorns, sea salt and picked orgegano. Leaving the tomatoes to steep in the dressing meant they gave up their juices and then once the Burrata has also yielded it’s treasure… Not really cooking, just an assembly of very fine ingredients, served with some focaccia to mop up the juices.

You may notice the absence of photographs…sometimes the day is so relaxing that things like that get forgotten until the dishes have been consumed!

We followed this with, more laughing and conversation,  and then a slow roast shoulder of pork, well seasoned on a bed of onions, artichokes and fennel that had been moistened with a little white wine. The bed becomes a sort of sticky confit, and the pork fell away from the bone after it’s 5 hours in the oven. Again, no recipe just a collection of ingredients assembled to allow them and the oven to perform the alchemy.IMG_1721

Some buttered tagliatelle, and the gurgle of converstaion were the only accompaniments – although we did punctuate the baking heat of the afternoon by moving the table and the umbrella around the garden with uncommon freqency in an attempt to avoid the piercing summer sun…The roofer acting as ballast to keep the errant umbrella in position.

We sopped up the juices with the remainder of the focaccia and did justice to the animal. The absent cousin Huey, we felt, had missed out on a bit of a treat and we resolved never to mention this to him at any stage in the future…!?

We ended, crammed in the shadiest but most cramped corner to consume the lemon polenta cake with raspberry’s and ice last a recipe! Not mine, but gifted to us by Nigella and which can be found here. 

A lovely moist dessert cake, that happens to be gluten free and followed by a few italian cheeses with a drizzle of orange blossom honey, some figs and green apples. Oh for some photo’s!



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