Herb-infused Olive Oil Dip

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Need something that you can throw together with store cupboard ingredients any time you have some unexpected guests? This is it. Serve it with drinks, as an appetizer before a meal or just as a snack while you catch up with some friends who decided on the spur of the moment to stop by for a quick hello. It takes less than five minutes to make and with a good loaf of bread it’ll satisfy even the most difficult of guests.

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An Italian-Inspired Dinner Party

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Minted Zucchini Crostini

Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder with Fennel Seeds, Chilli and Garlic
Celery Root Mash
Green Beans with Breadcrumbs and Pinenuts

Lemon Cheesecake

Some of our close friends had family visiting from Poland last week and, as ever, I looked at that as the opportunity for a dinner party. Dinner parties seem to have this stigma, this pretentious air about them which puts people off. In our house they are simply an excuse to have good friends over, drink lots of wine and, of course, for me to get in the kitchen and cook up a three course meal.

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Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Barbaresco (2008)

I bought this wine on a whim. It was reduced from £9.99 to £6.99 and I had never tasted the variety before, so I thought: why not?

Apparently Barbaresco and Barolo are two gems in the northern Italian winemaking region, little did I know! Both wines are made from the Nebbiolo grape which is grown in very few places across the globe, most of which are in northwest Italy. They’re said to generally be quite pricy and need to age for 10 to 30 years to be at their best, so I wasn’t quite sure what a five-year-old bottle under a tenner was going to offer.

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