Spending Christmas away from London, in the depths of the English countryside, is like being in a rather lovely bubble, so I just didn’t think about anything much, bar torturing my sister for eating all the green triangles in the Quality Street, and stroking Billy’s silken ears.

On returning to London, I had planned a huge Sunday lunch which, if I hadn’t left it until Saturday when I came back to invite people, would have been a wonderful idea.  So I moved the whole shebang to Monday, which worked out rather well: It felt like the best kind of subversive treat: the worst day of the week, turning into something splendid.

(For my American friends, I should explain that more than a few London offices shut right through from the 23rd to the 2nd, because of the way that the three Christmas & NY British Public Holidays fell this year. In fact a lot of people won’t be back until the 6th)

I spent New Year 2013 in Cornwall at blissful Dreamcatchers with Hannah, Mark, and Rachel, (and my sister), but this year we weren’t able to get away, so this was like a fabulous holiday reunion, with the absolute joy unconfined addition of Shayne, who long term readers of LLG will know as my best male friend from New York, who made multiple appearances on here between 2007-2010. (He  and Rach are friends from university, and he introduced me to her in Manhattan.)


Rach (above) bought me these ravishing tulips, a promise of Spring to come, which I put in my great-grandmother’s Waterford vase.  I had a whole bunch of recipes to test so they were in the nature of very good looking guinea pigs.  (Shayne is vegan, which I love, so we had four vegetable sides.)


There were practically no leftovers, so I guess the recipes worked.


There was a new trifle-y thing for pud. I was really quite pleased with this concoction. Poor Shayne, no trifle for him.

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I had invited everyone for 1-ish, and we ate a long, leisurely lunch.

Very, very long. Still going strong after the sun had set. With so much to talk about, it was not surprising: we covered the world in conversation.

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By this stage, we had already done a run to Whole Foods on Parkway for crisps and cheese. And then another one for chocolate buttons and more Champagne. (It’s pretty handy living a stone’s throw from a store that sells pretty much everything you could want to eat or drink. At a price, mind.)

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DJ Shayne.

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There was *quite* a lot of dancing and singing. Hannah had never heard Call Me Maybe, so Rach and I felt we should enlighten her.

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Everyone left at 2245. Eleven odd hours. I think that is the longest lunch party I have ever thrown. Ever.

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And probably the best. I love long lunches. Happy New Year xo


This looks so lush! Lovely lunch, I see.


I love your large white pasta? bowls. Can you tell me where you got them?


Hi Catherine, they were in the seconds bin at IKEA Brent Cross, a few months back! LLGxx


Few things in life are better than a long, leisurely (and boozy) lunch with friends. Sounds great. Happy New Year.


Beautiful table; the tulips and your chums look delightful in any light . . . I have made trifle only once–when I celebrated William and Catherine’s wedding with my students. Surely I can imagine another potential occasion after hungrily looking at yours.


Happy New Year Sasha!
Your daily emails are like a breath of fresh air, keep up the good work.


Sasha – sounds/looks absolutely wonderful – please post those veggie sides, am always aching for new ideas for my vegan friends – esp. when Ottolenghi ingredients are not always easy to get over here in the provinces….XOXOs


Always found lunches spoilt the evening (the after effects of drinking at lunch time).
Now I see the cure: keep going! Xx


what a glorious lunch.

I’ve had hyacinths, tulips, and roses in the house over Christmas and new year. Spring flowers are always welcome!


There really is not much in this world that is more fulfilling than spending time at home with great friends, family, and food. Looks like you has such a wonderful time!


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