Lockdown has encouraged an attitude of frugality that has endured even now that shops are better stocked. At least, that’s the case in my parsimonious household.
Thus the duck that I smoked and barbecued on Sunday provided several meals.
Which were followed by a lentil stew from the freezer then a makeshift pasta sauce rustled up from leftover plum tomatoes.
All of these dishes were enjoyable, but not exactly thrilling.
So the puritan who scowls in my soul was soon beaten to submission by the sybarite who jabbers incessantly alongside him.
And so the week ended far more splendidly – with a meal from The Cornerstone Kitchen, which specialises in catering for events and private dinner parties and has branched out with hampers of part-prepared dishes to finish off at home.
It’s an interesting menu full of contemporary touches based around seasonal ingredients.
The starter I chose was very pretty and perfect for summer.
Watermelon had been lightly charred and was topped with gently pickled red onion, radish and feta.
The contrast of sweetness, saltiness and sharpness worked well and there was a tangy dressing that brought the ingredients together.
Afterwards came a salmon fillet that I cooked briefly in the pan and oven and was served with artichokes, spinach, green olives and the star of the show – a velouté that was heady with saffron, of suitably velvety consistency and had that all-important balance of richness and acidity.
This was a dish that was fresh and vibrant yet satisfying.
The dessert was all about indulgence – but refined indulgence.
The banoffee pie was a stylish, beautifully-crafted and surprisingly light creature that delivered all the flavours that are right and proper.
Salted caramel and shards of white chocolate added extra interest.
This was a meal that from start to finish showed The Cornerstone Kitchen has a deep understanding of ingredients and the skill to make them sing.
And I did my best when plating up to try to make sure the fine dining quality showed.
The “at home” menu includes numerous choices of starters, mains and desserts, all priced separately.
To find out more, visit https://www.thecornerstonekitchen.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org