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A la Colthard

Home cooking v restaurant cuisine

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 .


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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