There is no better way to celebrate the beginning of Fall than with a feast for the whole family to enjoy, full of fall flavours - you know, comfort food that should include a stew to warm you up. Perfect for the colder days, slow cooked food is king in our household and is served with pride and in style. It brings back memories of cooking next to my nan, and fills the house with that perfect home-made food smell.
Above: slow cooked pork stew served with sweetened onions and spinach over polenta. Below, a quiche by Sambonet served in individual cast iron pots with lid.
If you see yourself as spending more time in the kitchen, there are two reasons for it. First, cooking and baking is bigger than ever. In a year that has been full of TV twists, we witnessed how the nation's favourite Great British Bake Off was snapped up by Channel 4, which has turned the series from food into a drama series - and we're hooked!
Knives were drawn and so we're now glued to every episode - and get to learn a few tricks along the way. Below: my celebration cake was a hit with the family. Homemade and glorious and very #GBBO inspired !
And if cooking is your thing, series like Masterchef (or my personal favourite, Masterchef Junior) will leave you feeling hungry and ready to go all pro with your cookware. Because, yes, I am absolutely certain that cooking in good looking pots, helps deliver better flavoured food - fact.
Oh, and did you now that al dente pasta is LESS fattening than overcooked pasta?! You're welcome!
Above: pasta is a firm favourite in the family. Photo: Jenny Kakoudakis for Seasons in Colour
The second reason is that with the explosion of Instagram into our lives, table setting with gorgeous flatware and deliciously looking dishes is becoming the daily norm. Personally, I get a huge amount of satisfaction from laying a beautiful table for friends and family to enjoy as well as taking good looking dish photos like the above.
How to cook and serve in style for family and friends
In collaboration with Sambonet. Special thanks Ashmeet Singh of Rich Clicks
One to follow on Instagram for tons of inspiration when it comes to table setting? Sambonet of course! The Italian brand has been a well known name in the hospitality sector over the years and is also the name of choice for wedding lists and for those who love design and functionality. With the addition of new more colourful lines, Sambonet is now a brand that I am very excited to share with you here.
What is hot right now in table setting
I cannot recall how many times I have seen gold cutlery appear on Insta (including my own feed), but if you buy a cheap version, you're likely to see colours fade after a few washes in the dishwasher. I know, it happened to me. I bought a cute set for my photography/props but after a while, the colour was 'washed' away. I wasn't impressed.
Hence, my recommendation is to always go for a good quality set (18/10 stainless steel) that is especially treated to keep the colour looking great even if you use the dishwasher often. Just look at the intensity of the colour in the gold Sambonet cutlery range below. The difference is huge (and read on to see how they create the Midas Touch on their cutlery range).
Gold looks precious and can turn every meal into something special. And why not celebrate every day with little pleasures like this?
Photo: CODY GUILFOYLE | Styling by Sean Santiago
Copper and rose gold are also big this year and look great combined with a number of colours like white, black, pink and grey, so you can really splash out on the flatware and be a little more reserved with your dinnerware if you need to stick to a budget
Inspiration: above, the Sambonet PVD Copper flatware styled by the brand. Below: Copper flatware in a colourful setting for Domino magazine, photo by Brittany Ambridge.
Another colour that has design enthusiasts talking is black. While you might think this is masculine and very Scandinavian looking, I think it looks sexy and can really make your table sing, especially if you combine it with Art Deco inspired diner plates. But if you do love Scandi design as much as we do here in Seasons in Colour, then here are some key pieces to use (all from Sambonet).
I particularly love the mini vases which you can use on breakfast trays or place them on plates when guests are over. Use linen napkins to complete the look.
Being an advocate of good quality products, I wanted to also cover why it pays in the long term to buy something a little more expensive. If you want to be on trend and keep your flatware looking as new for longer, try the Sambonet PVD range. PVD, acronym for Physical Vapour Deposition, is a special colouring treatment that gives stainless steel objects precious gold, black or copper shades. The variety of colours allows you to create original mise en place, thanks to the possibility of matching them with both white and coloured porcelain.
The colouring phase takes place thanks to a process of sublimation of the electrical particles, soldering to the flatware’s substrate at an atomic level. The different quantity of zirconium carbon nitride generates the gold, black, copper and champagne colours. What is more important though, the process makes the cutlery nickel safe! It's no wonder then that the brand is wildly popular in the hospitality sector - the results are outstanding and long lasting.
I mentioned Instagram. One of the biggest trends on it is capturing your breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea on the go, and few places do it as good as the Rosewood Hotel, the Ritz and Clarige's in London. What do all these places have in common ? Have a look at the flatware and serveware they use. It is consistently in silver colour, heavy, and luxurious.
My top tip to replicate the look and keep it real? Start small. Buy the LIDO teapot (on sale €63.30), a milk jug (€38.40) and a tea tray as well as a set of silver tea spoons (promo: Set 6 pcs tea/coffee spoons for €8.20). Combine with plain white porcelain tea cups and white napkins.
How big should your flatware set be?
It depends on how may people you entertain regularly! The magic number for me is 24 pieces where you get 4 pieces per setting, enough for 6 guests.
Flatware and serveware are also a much sought after gift on wedding lists, so if you are planning your big day, don't forget to add both on your list too. We sometimes forget to treat ourselves with good quality tableware and flatware, so if you can, ask your guests to treat you (and cook up a storm for them after the wedding!).
What's on my wish list?
With pots starting at just below €40, the 12oClock red collection is a classic with a twist: with its 18-10 stainless steel and thick sandwich bottom to ensure optimum heat conductivity it stands out for its large handles and for its cover knob: both made of soft silicone, that does not burn and provides a stable, safe and comfortable grip. I so need this! Why?
Above: The 12oClock Red cookware range by Sambonet
Three years ago, I had a terrible accident in the kitchen while moving the pasta pot from the hob to the sink to get the water out. The very large pot I used was all stainless steel. I had to wrap two towels, one over every handle to avoid burning my hands.
What happened next was tragic: one of the towels got caught in the hob and that stopped me suddenly from moving forward even though the movement had already started. The hot water from the pot kept moving forward as I was pulled back by the towel, fell on my arm, completely washing off the top layer of the skin. Sounds bad? It was.
Accidents in the kitchen can happen so easily, but I am convinced that it could have been avoided if I had been using this type of silicon handle pot. Ever since the accident, I am always double careful but to avoid something similar happening ever again, I will be shortly testing out my own 12oClock red pots, making even more great looking dishes like this!
Photo: Jenny Kakoudakis for Seasons in Colour