We restaurant reviewers like nothing more than home cooking. Sounds blasé but true. Last Friday Ollie decided to cook the meal. He is not an imaginative cook but prepares simple dishes well, so he went to the wet fish section of Waitrose and bought 2 crabs and some salmon. The salmon he cooked in silver foil, with oil and lemon, served with new potatoes and fresh peas and it was delicious. We drank a Gewurtzttraminer. In a restaurant this would have set you back £120 and he paid a quarter for this.
Yesterday I went for lunch with my godson and his mother to lunch with a teaching colleague of hers. Her colleague teacher Pete has an Italian wife, Caterina from Bologna, the gastronomic capital of the country. Having eaten there before, I expected a high standard of cuisine and was not disappointed. Caterina served lasagne, her pasta was light, thin and velvety, and the ragu of mince with celery and carrots deliciously hearty. This was a world away from that congealed goo that passes as lasagne in pubs and poor trattoria. We all had double helpings. My niece Kate, nicknamed Kate the Saint for all her charitable work, is always mocked for her total gastronomic ignorance and loves lasagne. So I asked a Caterina portion for her. After the pasta starter, we were served a simple fish dish with a fennel salad and red peppers. This was the perfect foil for the filling pasta. To complete this feast, she baked an almond and pear torta .
The Italianate sense was fortified by their children being present and rather than difficult uncommunicative kids, as can be the case, contributed to the general bonhomie around the table .