There is little that I enjoy more than bringing together a group of girlfriends for supper around my dining table. I also particularly enjoy finding the perfect present for my friends and family – as you may remember from my series of Christmas gifting posts last year.
So my recent collaboration with Italian jewellery company Dodo couldn’t possibly have been more Sasha…I invited six girlfriends to my home in London for dinner, and chose for each of them the gold Dodo charm that I thought best suited their personality.
(The Dodo charms are a wonderful collection of animal charms, each of which has a secret meaning so, whilst you can buy a pretty charm as a straightforward present, you can also tell a little story with it too. The Dachshund above means ‘I’d go to any length for you‘)
That’s the table top I designed above (of which more later), and I went to Covent Garden to buy armfuls of flowers to decorate the dining table, choosing roses, Ranunculus and rosemary, all which carry particular meanings, according to the language of flowers. Rose means beauty, rosemary for remembrance and, most appropriately for our charm-inspired dinner, Ranunculus means ‘I am dazzled by your charms’!
Amongst my guests were the photographer Jackie Dixon, fashion editor and stylist Hannah Teare (she styled this campaign!) Helen Seamons – Fashion Editor of The Observer, the brilliant food writer and TV cook Ravinder Bhogal (author of this wonderful book), plus my friends Beth and Emily. There was a lot of this:
and quite a lot of this
I do love it when an evening gels, and it becomes all about telling stories.
I wanted to design a menu that was seasonal and autumnal in feel, and was colourful too, to match the Dodo felt mats and jewellery boxes. So I cooked and we ate:
Pomegranate, maple roasted walnut, roasted cauliflower & watercress salad with tahini and pomegranate molasses dressing
Individual home made chicken and mushroom pot pies
Buttered Spring Greens
Butternut squash puree with pumpkin oil and pumpkin seeds
Individual chocolate trifles (70% chocolate mousse, home made brownie chunks and whipped cream with chocolate shavings)
Ripe Waterloo cheese (made from Guernsey milk in Berkshire), home made Bramley apple chutney, water biscuits, celery
Empty plates make me very happy
Although, frankly, so does chocolate…
I think Emily would agree.