It was great to celebrate this bank holiday with lots of sunshine and great friends. Isn’t that what life is all about?


Catering for us all in the garden really is a favourite thing for me and it was made all the better for a burst of allium .. and all the merrier for Mr Jones with his sidekick JR.

Ottolenghi's Wild Rice Salad

Ottolenghi’s Wild Rice Salad

On occasions like these I fall back on a tried and tested formula with large bowls of yummy food for us all to dig into and this time the sunshine inspired a Greek-ish menu: slow cooked lamb shoulder with a wonderful piece of Laverstoke Park Farm meat studded with loads of rosemary and garlic was cooked slowly for over 5 hours so that it really did fall off the bone. I matched that with tabbouleh, tzatziki and flatbreads. The tabbouleh was Ottolenghi’s, and the tzatziki was one that I saw on Australian Masterchef from George Calombaris. It simply tastes better with the lemon zest and the moisture drained from the cucumber. The final main dish was adapted from another Ottolenghi recipe: Wild Rice Salad.

For dessert I had prepared a lemon and saffron cake from an old recipe that I had but that was most definitely superseded by the professional baker of the group. I met Caroline whilst volunteering at a school cookery class that we did for kids with learning difficulties and it was clear to me then that C, along with Mr Jones, was in a different league. They had both trained at Leith’s and C subsequently set up her own catering company specialising in the most wonderful cakes. She is a genuine talent supplying an array of local delis with her delectations. Today she brought with her the latest in her repertoire which was a banana and chocolate chip cake with peanut butter icing.

There is nothing more to say – I leave you with a pic of the bits we didn’t demolish that will be going to work tomorrow.

Banana and chocolate chip cake with peanut butter icing

Banana and chocolate chip cake with peanut butter icing