Growing up, there was definitely a sense of the everyday and then the things we saved ‘for best’ in our household. There were my everyday clothes, comfy scruffy jumpers and jeans, stained with grass from playing in the garden and then the stiff and starchy ‘Sunday best’ outfits. My grandmother had her everyday plates and cutlery, some slightly chipped and tarnished from their use at breakfast, lunch and supper. Then she had her fine tableware, shiny silver cutlery and cut glass crystal glasses. These were always proudly on display in the dresser, safely out of the reach of careless little hands. Only on special occasions or impromptu visits from friends and neighbours, would the posh dinner service would come out. Eating from my chipped and faded plate, I would long to be old enough to be trusted with these precious things.
Its funny how things stay with you and to this day I still have things ‘for best’ gathering dust in wardrobes and cupboards. Including my set of Robert Welch Radford cutlery, which I keep boxed in a pristine fashion for dinner parties. Recently, Robert Welch released a new range of cutlery, which are as beautifully made as their other cutlery sets, but are stylish, practical and affordable. In other words perfect for everyday use. Robert Welch asked if I would like to review the new designs and sent over the Hidcote, Kingham and Bourton collections, which are all named after local Cotswold villages.
I found it difficult to choose a favourite from the three designs. They all beautiful and felt very comfortable and well balanced. Hidcote has an elegant tapered design, whereas Kingham and Bourton, while also elegant feel more substantial. All three designs would make the perfect accessory for al fresco dining. It is worth noting they all felt slightly different to hold, so it is important when choosing cutlery to find the right design that feels comfortable in your hand. Fortunately, Robert Welch have an online sample service so that you try out the different ranges beforehand. So this could be the ideal time to update your summer dining table (or buy the perfect wedding gift) as Robert Welch are offering £25 off to all my readers if you spend £100 or more online. A 42 piece set of Hidcote, Kingham or Bourton could be yours for £125 – just use the code ‘GIFT25’
To celebrate the release of the new collections, I thought I would share a recipe inspired by one of my Grandmother’s posh dinner party favourites – Peach Melba. The flavours of the famous Escoffier dish are all here in an everyday, easy dessert. Layers of meringue, sandwiched with softly whipped cream, the magical combination of fresh raspberries and peaches, served with a raspberry sauce. This recipe is also too lovely to keep just ‘for best’.
* this post is sponsored by Robert Welch, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
- 6 free-range egg whites
- pinch of salt
- 350g caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornflour
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 600ml double cream
- 290g fresh raspberries
- 4 ripe peaches, stoned and sliced into 8 pieces
- 2 tablespoons flaked almonds, toasted
- icing sugar
- Raspberry sauce
- 250g fresh raspberries
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar, plus extra to taste
- 2 tablespoons of raspberry liqueur - optional (I use Gibson's Organic Raspberry liqueur)
- OR the juice of half a lemon.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4
- Draw two 20cm/8in circles on baking paper and place onto two separate baking trays.
- Place the eggs whites in a large scrupulously clean bowl and whisk until soft peaks form.
- Slowly start to whisk in a tablespoon of sugar at a time until it is all incorporated and the egg whites are glossy and stiff. Add the vinegar and cornflour and whisk again to combine.
- Divide the egg white mix between the two 20cm/8in circles and spread evenly to cover.
- Place the trays in the oven and reduce the temperature to 140C/120C fan/Gas 1. Bake for one hour 15 minutes or until the meringue is crisp on the outside. Switch off the oven, leaving the meringues inside until they are completely cool.
- Meanwhile, make the raspberry sauce by placing the raspberries and icing sugar into a pan. Heat gently until the raspberries break down and then blend in a food processor until smooth. Pass through a sieve and add the raspberry liqueur or lemon juice to taste. Pour into a small jug and set aside.
- When you are ready to serve, carefully remove the baking paper from the meringues and place one on a serving plate.
- Whip the cream until soft peaks form when you lift the whisk
- Spread half the cream onto the meringue and arrange half the fruit on top. Top with the other meringue and add the remaining cream and fruit. Sprinkle over the toasted almonds and dust with icing sugar. Serve with the jug of raspberry sauce.