Autumn supper in the summerhouse

This informal tablescape set up certainly wasn’t originally planned as a post.

An impromptu gathering of friends for supper to celebrate my husband’s birthday, I only started thinking about it on the day it was happening. What with all the craziness of getting three kids back to school, all I knew was that I was going to cook beef and I was going to cycle to the butchers on my new bike to collect it, so I could feel a bit French having not made our usual visit there this summer.

But, having posted some pictures to my Instagram stories the next day I ended up having so many lovely comments that I decided I should turn it into a piece for the journal.

So here you go, a few thoughts on pulling together a last minute gathering.

The tablecloth was made up of two old French linen sheets which were not particularly well ironed laid on a garden table and a sheet of ply wood on some trestle legs, not quite matching in size, I suppose helping to add to the cobbled together last minute feel.

In the absence of flowers, and having hit my head several times on the apple tree in the middle of our garden which was groaning with fruit, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and prune it and then use the cuttings to lay down the centre of the table.

My final burst of inspiration came when going through my box of dinner candles. There were some little tapers hiding at the bottom that I’d been given as a gift and not really know what to do with. I decided to grab my vintage madeleine dishes and arrange them amongst the apples. All you need to do is level the bottoms of the tapers with a knife. Then light each one and drip some warm wax into the dish. Blow out the taper and hold it for a few seconds so that the wax starts to cool and it holds into place. Done.

I laid the table with my trusty Brickett Davda plates,  (they are a great size and when you’re cooking Ottelenghi goodies I find everyone always wants to load up their plates!) and then added Vintage List tumblers and pale pink Once Milano linen napkins.

Apart from the birthday boy the star of the show however was the cake. A Skye McAlpine recipe from her book ‘A Table in Venice’ which I made with the children earlier in the day and decorated with stems of Clematis.