Dinner for six

Complement classic French dishes with the best in Frenchwines and the latest word in chic dining-table accessories. It’s anunforgettable combination that will keep your guests entertained until theearly hours
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Indy Lifestyle Online


Clean, pure and simple, with layers of white and a hint ofscarlet in the gerberas on the table. This is a look created almost entirelyfrom one of the homes of classic dining modernism, David Mellor(www.davidmellordesign.com) – from the chunky LSA Bullet tumblers to the Loftrange of dinner and side plates, and the settings of Paris cutlery.

Such a simple look - white, plus a hint of scarlet/plum/pink or a dash of dark granite according to taste - works really well with thedelicious aromas and strong colours of the rich French autumn dishes and winesthat we suggest (see opposite).

Wine glasses are the first things your guests see when theyarrive. They will all be eagerly looking forward to the first splash of crispwhite or jammy red, so it is important that they take pleasure in the glasses,too.

For something really special, check out Eclipse glassware byNick Munro at John Lewis, £50, (not pictured), which looks like slim mediaevalgoblets in black, with either square inset panels or deep horizontal grooves.

Or the handsomely traditional Botticelli range from Habitat,where white wine glasses cost £2.50. They also have the full complement ofspecialist glasses: burgundy glasses at £3.25, oversized wine glasses at £3.75,a Champagne flute at £2.75 and Martini glasses at £3.75.

If you are a fan of quality crystal, but want somethingmodern and in keeping with this look, investigate Orrin, from Edinburghcrystal, which has a subtle meshed design with interwoven wires in the base.It’s exceptionally subtle and beautiful, and about a million miles away fromthe typical star-design cut crystal. Prices start from two large wine glassesat £19, to the stunning ice bucket at £80 and decanter at £150.

Moving onto the table setting itself, the key is to layerthe whites – in the tablecloth, place mats and china. Then to add tiny detailsof interest, such as the napkins, which feature tiny, blue-woven squares,almost invisible from a distance.

For a budget option with a nod at traditionalism, try theribboned-edged, all-white Arv Ugn range by designer Sissa Sundling at IKEA.

Also check out their tiny white Forma bowls, perfect forserving coarse pepper, sea salt and oil. These are absolutely ideal formatching the all-white base.

TRUFFLED ONION SOUP

Ingredients for six
500g White onion, thinly sliced
25g Butter
1tbsp Truffle oil
100ml French white wine
1.5l Chicken stock
1 Truffle
Salt and pepper to taste

Method
Melt the butter and the oil in a large saucepan. Fry theonions slowly until they are soft and slightly caramelised. Then add the whitewine and let it bubble until almost evaporated. Add the stock and cook slowlyfor a further 10 minutes. Season to taste and then serve in individual bowlswith shavings of truffle on the top to garnish.

Wine Recommendation
An Alsace Riesling springs immediately to mind here. Itsrefreshing acidity and gorgeous spice make the perfect foil for the deepflavours of the soup. An ever-so-slightly sweet rosé from Provence or thesouthern Rhÿne would also present a good balance of flavours for this trickymatch of onions and rich truffle. 2001 Alsace Riesling Hugel et Fils, £10.49,Oddbins.

SALADE LIÉGEOISE

Ingredients for six
250g Fine green beans, blanched
500g Potatoes, sliced,
cooked and peeled
150g Cubed pancetta
1 Red onion, thinly sliced
1tbsp Mustard
11.5tbsps Red wine vinegar
5tbsps Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Method
Fry the pancetta until lightly crispy in a small frying pan.Slice the potatoes and place them in a large bowl with the beans, the pancettaand the onions. Make the dressing by mixing the salt, pepper and mustardtogether with the red wine vinegar. Add the oil slowly, mixing at the sametime. Pour this on top of the salad and mix well.

Wine Recommendation

A lightly-chilled Beaujolais would go down well here if youlike to start off with a red wine. The lively pear dropflavours of the Gamaygrape will offset the salad's intensity. For something to match the acidity ofthe vinaigrette, a Sauvignon de Touraine would stand up well to the capers andbacon. 2003 Romy Pÿre et Fils, Beaujolais, £5.99, Oddbins.

STEAK WITH ROQUEFORT

Ingredients for six
6 Sirloin steaks
25g Butter
150g Roquefort cheese
150ml Double cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Method
Season the steaks with salt and pepper, then melt the butterin a large frying pan and cook the meat. When they are done, remove from theheat and keep warm while preparing the sauce. Melt the Roquefort cheese in apan, add the cream and mix until a smooth sauce. Serve the steak topped withthe sauce and sautéed potatoes.

Wine Recommendation
For many, it has to be something from Bordeaux. I'd suggesta young Cru Bourgeois from the Médoc, whose upfront tannins and blackcurranthints will bring out the flavour. My personal choice would be a vigorous, spicyCÿtes du Rhÿne Villages - one of the best allround-value wines produced inFrance. Radcliffe?s Regional Classics, Cÿtes-du-Rhÿne, £5.99, Thresher.

LITTLE APPLE TARTS

Ingredients for six
1 Pack of puff pastry
6 Apples
1 Egg yolk
2tbsps Honey

Method
Preheat the oven at 200°C. Roll the puff pastry and make sixcircles of about 5 inches each. Peel and core the apples, slice finely, andarrange neatly on each circle, leaving a quarter of an inch at the edge. Brushwith egg yolk; glaze the apples with honey. Then place the tarts on a bakingtray and cook for 15 minutes - or until golden.

Wine Recommendation
The absolute favourite has to be one of the sweet wines madewith the Chenin Blanc grape in the Loire Valley. The honeyed silkiness of asweet Vouvray, Quarts de Chaume or Cÿteaux de Layon, offset by theirwonderfully fresh acidity, are perfect. You might also try themarmalade-luscious wines from Monbazillac. Vouvray, Les Cÿteaux Tufiers, £6.49,Thresher.

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