You just have to wish to make it so. New spin on outdoor eats (and on homeware) from broadcasters and supper club supremos Laura Jackson and Alice Levine.
OUR NATURAL HABITAT
One thing that we’re both particular about at our supper clubs is table linen. We’re both self-confessed napkin hoarders – and when the idea of designing a capsule collection with Habitat came about, we knew immediately what we wanted to do.
We focused on creating informal, handcrafted textiles, working with one of Habitat’s oldest suppliers in India: the weavers of khadi cloth, a hand-spun, hand-woven fabric made using traditional skills that are becoming less common due to mechanisation. Each piece is entirely individual and the fabric has a handmade quality that we love.
We build the look of our tables around a neutral base, so for our runner and placemats we opted for a very simple, soft grey stripe on a khadi base, and for our napkins we added colour and a leafy pattern.
And – not that we’re biased – we think we’ve created the most gorgeous kitchen apron, cut simply and beautifully in our signature stripe, with a deep cross back and diagonal pockets (pictured with our Watermelon and Mint Fizz, far right). This isn’t only our first foray into homeware – it’s our first ready-to-wear fashion collection! Check out habitat.co.uk/jacksonandlevine for all the details.
Rooftop picnic for 6
Living in the city we crave open spaces, so when the temperature is a notch above zero we race to eat our meals outside. Get prepping, grab a basket and blanket, and find a patch of dappled light in the park or, even better, a roof with a view.
● Cheese & chive dip
● Chicken & pesto loaf sandwich
● Tomato, feta & thyme tart
● White chocolate, sour cherry & pistachio rocky road
Cheese & chive dip
SERVES 6 AS PART OF A PICNIC
3 tbsp olive oil
100g spring onions (or 2 very large ones), trimmed and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
25g chives, finely chopped
250g Greek yoghurt
40g gruyère, finely grated (we use a Microplane)
1 red onion, finely sliced into rings
smoked salt and white pepper
good extra virgin olive oil
favourite raw vegetables, cut into batons or florets
1 Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the spring onions with a pinch of smoked salt and fry until just beginning to caramelise – about 5 or 6 minutes. Lower the heat, add the garlic and cook for a minute or so more; watch it carefully so as not to let the garlic burn.
2 Remove from the heat and stir in all but a handful of the chives, reserving these for a garnish. Tip the yoghurt into your serving bowl and stir in the spring onion and chive mixture with the grated cheese, until thoroughly combined. Add a splash or two of water depending on how thick you like your dip, and some white pepper. Chill until ready to serve.
3 Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the same frying pan, add the red onion and fry until crispy. When it starts to catch and brown, remove from the heat and sprinkle with a pinch of smoked salt.
4 To serve, drizzle the yoghurt with good olive oil and top with the fried red onion and reserved chives. Serve with crudités.
White chocolate, sour cherry & pistachio rocky road
MAKES 15 SQUARES
400g good-quality white chocolate
20g pink marshmallows, roughly chopped
60g shortbread biscuits, roughly chopped
30g desiccated coconut
10g plain popcorn
60g shelled unsalted pistachios
110g dried cherries
1 Line a 26cm x 17cm baking tin with clingfilm.
2 Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of boiling water over a low heat, making sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.
3 While the chocolate is melting, put the chopped marshmallows and shortbread in a bowl and add the coconut, popcorn, pistachios and dried cherries. Mix well.
4 When the chocolate has melted, remove it from the heat and leave to cool before adding to the dry mixture and mixing thoroughly.
5 Tip the mixture into the lined tin, spreading out to the edges, and refrigerate for 2 hours until firm. Remove from the fridge, lift out of the tin and cut into 15 squares. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Watermelon & mint fizz
MAKES 1.2 LITRES
600ml watermelon juice, see method, from approximately ¼ of a medium watermelon
few fresh mint leaves plus extra for garnish
1 Firstly, make the watermelon juice. Take the watermelon and cut the pink flesh into pieces, discarding the rind. Add the flesh to a food processor or blender and blitz well. Add the mint and blitz again. Sieve the watermelon mix (to remove the pulp and bits of mint stem) into a jug and save the juice. You should have around 600ml of watermelon juice.
2 It is now time to assemble your cocktail. Pop some ice into your glasses. For each cocktail combine 1 part gin, 2 parts watermelon juice and 1 part prosecco. Decorate with a sprig of mint.
The Jackson & Levine for Habitat capsule collection comprises a table runner, placemats and napkins for dining, and, for the kitchen, an apron and set of tea towels. Available in Habitat London flagship stores and at habitat.co.uk, with prices from £20. (Additional tableware pictured from habitat.co.uk.)
SAVE 25 PER CENT ON LAURA AND ALICE’S BOOK
Today’s recipes are from Jackson & Levine: Round to Ours by Laura Jackson and Alice Levine, published by Quadrille, price £25.
To order a copy for £18.75 (a 25 per cent discount) until 16 July, visit you-bookshop.co.uk or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15.