A beautifully set table makes all the difference to a meal. Our good friends are leaving for Australia to visit their children for Christmas and we shared a lovely lunch this past weekend at their beautiful home in the French country side…saying our thanks for this year, our goodbyes as well as just sharing good home cooked food.

I present to you her gorgeous table.



A cocktail was made by another friend, Carol, perfect to start our afternoon off with….Tequila sunrise: Mix about 3 parts of orange juice to 1 part of Tequila. Slowly pour in some grenadine to have it sink to the bottom and serve with a slice of lime or lemon, or dip the glass rim in lime and sugar.


The demand was high for comfort food, so that was the menu for this sunny winter’s afternoon. Starting off with the Tequila sunrise got us into the mood to continue with a goat’s cheese amuse bouche in Joanna’s pretty rose coloured glasses.

Take some soft goats’ cheese, and roll into balls. Keep refrigerated until needed. Finely chop some black olives, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, basil leaves. Add some olive oil,  syrupy balsamic vinegar, a dash of lemon juice and some grated lemon rind. Mix it all together. Place a spoonful of olive mixture in a pretty glass, top with a goats’ cheese ball and finish off with a sprinkling of the olive mixture, a drizzle of olive oil and a small basil leaf. No quantities are given…taste as you go along and add or leave out as your taste-buds dictate. Adapted from a recipe of Sharon.


Then we followed up with a carrot and pineapple soup, lingered over heartwarming, old fashioned shepherd’s pie, creamed spinach and roasted parsnips with rosemary and maple syrup. A great wine and enthusiastic conversation brought us to dessert; steamed ginger pudding and a pumpkin flummery with rich, voluptuous home made custard.


The end of a memorable afternoon; a fire crackling in the fireplace, music softly sounding up in the background, the sun playing frivolously on the glassware,  the intermingling of voices and laughter – like J.R.R Tolkien said: “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.

10 thoughts on “A beautiful table

  1. Oh, what lovely glassware your friend has! It sounds like the best kind of entertaining – relaxed, extended and filled with laughter and good food 🙂


  2. That is indeed a beautiful table, and a beautiful way to bid farewell to friends. I love the pics, and am going to try the goat’s cheese amuse bouche


  3. Hi Ronell,

    That is a wonderful table setting! I especially love the glass set in the soup bowl (the soft peachy coloured one).


  4. Steamed ginger pudding and pumpkin flummery? Be still, my beating heart! What a beautiful, interesting and heartfelt post, Ronell. Love what you did with the Charlie Trotter recipe. You must have access to some wonderful, fresh goat cheese to serve it that way – without crackers or bread to spread it on? Very creative. One occasionally sees warm goat cheese served on salad greens here, but the grocery store quality I have access to is not that great. I love beautiful glassware and china so the table setting was also treat to see! And the quote by Tolkein – perfect!
    (Do you have the recipe for the pumpkin flummery?)


  5. A really nice table! Warm and so elegant. Your friends are very luck to have you. I know they will enjoy Australia but it will be HOT for Xmas. That takes some getting used to, if you are new to Australia, or so some immigrant friends tell me.


  6. Ronell – I’ve been so busy, I hadn’t had time to stop by. One of my passions is setting a beautiful table. Your photos are so pretty, and the light is perfect. When someone puts that much energy into the setting, you know the meal will be fabulous as well.


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