Morning, a late morningÂ for me as was out on the razz last night hooking up with people who I used to work with in my first ever job, twenty odd years ago. Fresh out of school I landed a job at what was then Terence Conran’s publishing house, Conran Octopus on the picture desk. I spent 6 and a bit years working with a truly inspiring group of people and authors. Seeing everyone again made it feel like it was only a few years back that we all went our separate ways not a little under 20. Publishing is a totally different game these days, book deals (certainly not all,Â but some for sure)Â get given out not based on a person’s expertise so much these days, but based on stats. If you’re riding high in the social media stats – hey have a book deal. Which I get sort ofÂ (hey if people want to buy the books its good all round I guess) but for me they miss a beat. Maybe that’s me, I worked in publishing at a time when authors were total experts in their field, who knew their game, imparted their knowledge so you actually learnt something different and insightful buying their book whether it was about food, gardening, interiors. Hey ho.
Its a rainy cold grey morning outside, am I allowed to say I rather love it? The light outside is so soft that against the dark walls of my studio with lots of little table lamps glowing away I feel like I’m sitting in a Vermeer painting. Come 9 I shall light a fire, pop on some mellow music, maybe jazz and knuckle down to the job in hand. Itâs a studio day focusing on the year ahead and trying to desperatly juggle around my schedule.
I thought for this mornings post we might have a little talk about table settings. With the holidays almost here most of us will be doing some sort of entertaining and of course we all want our tables to look fab right? I am a big fan of keeping it simple – there is enough hassle going on being the chef so I just want to throw down something super simple and achievable that takes no time but makes my table look fabulous.
The biggest tip I have up my sleeve is serving food on dark platters (everything looks cooler on a dark background, wouldn’t you know). I use slate a lot – roofing slate to be more precise on which I can pile up cheese, or a big sea bass or a pile of couscous or some red chard and peppery rocket salad leaves. Add a bit of wensleydale cheese, roast some walnuts, and add some walnut oil, wham bam done!
Little bread boards also look fabulous for serving stuff on, and see that sweet little tumbler below with wine in I serve all my wine in tumblers prefer it somehow.
I use tea light holders as vases, they are the perfect size for the dining table, add some scented herbs like rosemary and thyme and it will smell beautiful. Oh and decant salt and pepper into little dishes or coasters it looks so cool on the table.
If you need more info there is a ton of it in our Holiday Journal. X