I had been asked a few weeks ago to produce a birthday lunch in the country for Bruce, an old and lovely friend. Sunday was the day so after a day of preparation on saturday thanks to Jackie allowing me to use the kitchen, and after making a last minute (always better on the day) batch of brownies I headed off. At the end of a slightly longer drive than expected I received a warm welcome from Bruce and his early arrivals and was shown to the kitchen to get set up. I did also manage a sneaky peak at the elegant ground floor! I would not expect anything less from a man with exquisite taste!

The gorgeous garden provided a perfect setting for drinks and an al fresco lunch. Sadly though warm it was overcast and there was a moments excitement when the rain came but it did not dampen spirits  and most people wondered back outside after a break for pud!

I was enormously pleased to chat to so many people that I knew but had not seen for a while, catching up on bits of news and gossip. I must admit too to being really thrilled to receive some very charming compliments on the food. If the truth be known, jobs like this do not really feel like work, just a real pleasure.

The view from the kitchen. This outlook and a glass of rosé, can it really be classed as work?

A sample of what was served. Antipasto platter with drinks. Saffron potatoes, multi coloured beetroot with micro herbs, fennel stuffed salmon with micro herbs and general buffet shots. Pudding was raspberry spiked brownies and chunky Eton Mess.

The table, just lovely and those sweetpeas from a neighbours garden were divine.