As I left South Kensington for Nappy Valley, the one thing I tried to keep my brain focused on was not the incremental distance to Harvey Nichols or the nearest Ottolenghi, but rather the outdoor space (two actually, a little garden and a roof terrace) and the extra large kitchen. Sadly, two years later, I don't seem to be using it to its full potential often enough...
Before baby, we had a small kitchen and I loved spending Saturday afternoons preparing feasts for our friends, but now that I'm a busy mamma juggling family, work, friends, a little workout, my passion for fashion and blogging, it leaves little time to watch over my two ovens to see if the courgettes are roasting to perfection or not. So, what's a girl to do? Stop entertaining? Not for me! I still enjoy the odd dinner party and I think that's when I have the most fun, when we have some friends over for long Summer dinners in the garden, whilst the little munchkin is sleeping soundly in the nursery.
Thankfully I have found a system that works to still have impromptu-ish soirees: I order paella from Tendido Cuatro, a delicious Spanish restaurant just round the corner from our home.
In my youth, paella was a must of summer lunches at the beach house, a simple yet gourmet dish that was served with a leaf salad following a serving of jamon and tapas and washed down with some fresh and hopefully not too heavy wine!
It's also the perfect "entertain at home" solution for me, because Tendido Cuatro truly makes spectacular paellas, from 2 to as many people as you need, all you need is order with some notice (I believe a couple of hours suffice), pick up your paella and return the paellera once you're done (in our case, usually the next day as these dinners tend to last beyond the closing time!) My favourite one? Either the classic or the squid ink one, it's impossible to pick just one. It is much more elaborate than your usual take-away, and frankly it tastes better than a paella I'd cook myself, and it takes me litterally minutes to assemble the dinner. This way I can enjoy my normal Saturday afternoon, with a workout, an outing to the park with Monseur baby, and still have a fab time come evening.
I don't pull this one everytime, but a couple of times a year is ok, it helps have a more spontaneous approach to dinners, as home-cooked ones need to be planned and prepared with much more time and effort...
108-110 New Kings Road
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