Dinner parties, as far as I’m concerned, are all about the food and the clothes. Of course, there’s the wine, the shared gossip and the story about how you couldn’t get a cab home afterwards and ended up wandering aimlessly around Fulham for hours in 10 inch heels. But when it boils down to it, who was there, what you ate and what they wore are what you remember.
Regular readers will know that the Friday slot is usually dedicated to a menu suggestion – be it a lunch or a dinner that I have cooked – I’m now adding to that column with a few stories about who I shared that meal with. And what they wore.
This week – a casual supper with the uniquely talented jewellery designer, Julia Burness – who I am proud to also call my friend. I have known Julia for longer than I can remember. Before I moved to Italy at the age of six, Julia and I lived on the same street and shared the school run, both of us dressed in little blue check uniform dresses with navy blue boater hats (that we hated).
I say that fondly because Julia is now a superstar: she trained as a silversmith at Sir John Cass School of Art and Design in London. And now, she runs her own company, designs and makes jewellery from recycled precious metals. Her work – my favourite is her lost lace collection, where she takes pieces of vintage lace and dips them in gold or silver before crafting them into unique cuffs, earrings and collars – is sold in stylish boutiques across the world, including the Bluebird Shop in London and Flat128 in New York. She is also very hands on mother with one gorgeous little baby girl. Julia, darling, you are an inspiration.
Catching up with Julia is always a treat, as between baby and business, she gets booked up. We squeezed a quick supper on a weeknight and gossiped endlessly. We tucked in to a steak and beetroot salad, with succulent meat marinated in lime juice and olive oil, and copious quantities of chopped fresh parsley. We indulged in a veritable carb fest of baked gnocchi with stilton and baby spinach and crisp walnuts, topped with crunchy golden breadcrumbs and just a sprinkling of parmesan. I had seconds – mea culpa. And we finished the meal off with a plate of summer berries, smothered in white chocolate with just a hint of flowery saffron. And a peppermint tea. Heaven.
Thank you, Julia, for a lovely evening !
WHAT WE ATE: This recipe for a Peppery Steak and Beetroot Salad // Recipe for Gnocchi Gratin with Stilton, Baby Leaf Spinach and Crisp Walnuts //Recipe for the Frozen Berries with a Saffron Scented White Chocolate Sauce // Some Peppermint Tea
WHAT JULIA WORE: This stunning ‘Takara’ dress by Beautiful Soul, £395 // This ‘Isla’ cuff of her own design, £288 – which is now top of my wish list for my birthday next week (not very subtle hint to my husband) // These ‘Charlee’ heels by Chloe, £555 // And she looked stunning!