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Spritz and more

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About fifteen years ago, the Beloved and I visited Venice on holiday. Every guidebook recommended we try the local aperitif drink. In Venice at the time, spritz was made with still wine and a little soda and flavoured with one of several bitter liquors. Our guidebook noted that, while Campari was generally the preferred flavouring south of the Grand Canal, most bars in the tourist north served spritz with Aperol, then virtually unknown at home. Perhaps the students and celebs on the south islands like the higher alcohol content of Campari! It was served in a straight-sided glass (usually a high-ball), filled with ice, fruit and olives.

How times have changed!

I've just done a quick Google image search, my search-term being simply "spritz." Most of the images show bright orange Aperol spritz in large wine glasses, although there are some old fashioned glasses. Orange slices are frequent, and there are a couple of raspberries and blueberries to be seen, but there is not a…

A family Easter

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Easter's a special time for me and my family, and food is a big part of that. As I wrote in my Mothers' Day blog, providing food for those I love is one of life's great pleasures. To celebrate the great feast without guests would simply be unthinkable. Unlike Christmas, with its attendance pressures and expectations, there are no 'rules' to Easter entertaining. It can be a rather relaxed affair, giving you time to simply enjoy the presence of family and friends around the table. I'm lucky to have two stepchildren and two grandchildren who love to come to ours at Easter, and delaying the meal to play with cars on the floor is something we can all enjoy.



This year, I served a mimosa as the aperitif. The orange juice base was lovely and fresh in that warm sun we had. That's not to say it was lacking in alcohol. I fortified the juice with a blood orange liqueur from the Wiltshire Liqueur Company before adding Champagne. It's a cocktail that always goes dow…

Mix up your mixers!

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I wrote a few weeks ago about the current gin boom. I follow a number of gin bloggers and try to keep up with the ever-growing array of weird and wonderful gins. One of the things I notice, especially among sponsored content, is the unshakeable assumption that you must want to drink your gin with tonic water. Gin is a fabulously versatile spirit. That's the reason it's the foundation for so many cocktails. Why do we insist on limiting it when we mix it as a long drink?

Ginger ale

Mixing gin with ginger ale is almost as old as mixing it with tonic water. We're back in medicinal territory here, as ginger settles the stomach and is often recommended for seasickness or nausea. Well, a touch of gin won't help the seasickness, but it'll certainly liven up the drink! Try it with one of the fruit flavoured gins - rhubarb's the obvious one - or a good London dry. Fiery ginger beer mixes better with one of the sweeter gins. Try it with Tanqueray Sevilla. I also know of a…

Setting the scene

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A good dinner needs to appeal to all five of the senses. We put a lot of effort into making each dish appeal to the eye, as well as the nose and tastebuds. A well-balanced dinner will also feature a variety of textures, too, some of which will stimulate the ear with a crack or a crunch as you bite into them. Before the food arrives, though, before they’ve even taken their first sip of your well-planned aperitif, your guests will have taken in the ‘look’ of your dining room. They will have noticed the delicious aromas of food cooking in the kitchen and perhaps heard the bubble and hiss of pans on the stove. I want to think in this post about how we use that first impression to really set the scene for the dinner that follows.

First things first: decide on your overall look. Does the dinner have a theme? If you’re offering an evening of Spanish foods, sunshine colours and terracotta-ware will fit better than crisp white and cut crystal, but for a wedding anniversary you might decide th…

Tradition - a Mothers' Day post

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Springtime cocktails

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