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Home cooking

Yesterday I was invited to lunch in a nearby town by a couple I recently met. It’s so rare to receive such an invite and I reflected upon a new Rust debate on home cooking versus restaurants.

Recently I have been irritated by poor service in restaurants.

At one which I use a lot in Chichester we had hardly sat down when the waitress was informing us what is not on the menu. I had been emailed their new summer menu so what is the point if so much is not there? To add to this the wine was never poured.

This week at breakfast at another I frequent none of the tables were cleared leaving detritus all around and tempting in the scavenging seagulls.

So I was looking forward to a break in my life of reviewing for the pleasures of home cuisine.

I arrived at 12-20 was treated to glass of champagne in an interesting garden of art works and plant life – the husband is a landscape gardener and amateur artist – and felt as contented as their cat dozing of course in the most comfortable seat.

Slightly to my surprise the husband did the cooking.

This took him away from the conversation for some time. I was rather expecting a banquet – not home made soup of onions and leek from his allotment, beetroot risotto from the same source and a slice of sweet bread dipped in cream and rhubarb. It was all delicious, served with white and red Spanish wine.

But by the time it was served – approximately 2.00pm – I was ravenous.

It also meant that the full red wine a Gran Riserva Rioja from Valencia made me sleepy.

Time was, I might have been pleasurably induced by mine host to go “upstairs” !!!

This time a taxi was ordered and I got my sleep back at base.

Entertaining  at home requires quite an effort in terms of preparation, serving , clearing and washing up. You can see why few now make the effort. Yet with Deliveroo it’s probably on the up. It means you can enjoy decent wine at a third of a price, do not have an interfering waiter nor big bill at the end of it.

When the Rusters go to Nice our favourite meal is a slow lunch on the terrace balcony of salad  and fresh veg and fruit from the market washed down with some chilled Provençal rose.

Daphne Colthard
About Daphne Colthard

After graduating at RADA but finding no roles Daphne went into magazine journalism with Good Housekeeping. Widely recognised as one of the country's leading restaurant and hotel reviewers, particularly by herself, Daphne is the author of "Bedded and Breakfasted", a light hearted chick novel and Grand Hotels DC: the Daffers Dictionary. Daphne lives in West London and is married to an investment banker Oliver. They have 2 boys Humphrey and Tarquin. More Posts