Well, once again Giles Coren has pointed us towards a winner. Briciole in Marylebone grabs your imagination as soon as you walk in. The Italian deli counter, gelato cart and shelves of wine and pasta transport you immediately to a small trattoria in Italy − at least they transported me there. Once through the front bar area, the place takes on a more London look; a bit more shabby chic than Italian side street, but still charming.
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.
Yesterday we had a bonafide Italian in the house, so I took advantage and asked how real Italians make bruschetta. Not surprisingly, it’s much simpler than the hundreds of versions you find on the internet. In fact, if it hadn’t come straight from the horse’s mouth I probably wouldn’t have believed it could be so easy.
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.