Author: Lawrence Roullier White

Hectic Host: Healthy, Speedy Suppers

January may be the month when we would all like to cocoon ourselves away and drink cocoa under cashmere blankets – but life must go on. Like it or not we will have to cater the occasional event. Coming after a month when at every gathering everything that touches our lips seemed to come in rich buttery pastry (with which there is nothing wrong at all) a clean, quick buffet full of fresh ingredients makes a refreshing change. Here is our tried and tested menu of four dishes for a casual evening with friends. Mozzarella & Chargrilled Courgette – this dish takes the longest so we would suggest starting this whilst getting on with the others. The key to this to make sure the courgettes do not turn to mush or blacken too much, you want them sweetly caramelised in their own juices. The best solution – although it is slow – is a health grill using no oil. Cut courgettes in half, making sure you grill ones of the same thickness at the same …

Looking for a New Year pick-me-up? Lawrence Roullier White goes in search of South East London coffee.

Looking for a New Year pick-me-up? Lawrence Roullier White goes in search of South East London coffee. Aga’s Little Deli, Dartmouth Road, SE23, serving Monmouth Coffee and tasty treats from Cinnamon Bakery in Peckham Brickhouse Bakery, Zenoria Street, SE22, Square Mile coffee and the world-famous Peckham Rye bread Blue Mountain Café, North Cross Road, SE22, the original and one of the best, in ED since 1993 Café G, Peckham Rye, SE22, serving Volcano Coffee and G what a great breakfast! Franklins Farm Shop, London Lane, SE22, Volcano Coffee in a foodie heaven and friendly haven General Store, Bellenden Road, SE15, serving Workshop Coffee and the best Bakewells Honor Oak Provender, Honor Oak Park, SE23, Monmouth Coffee and ever changing selection of wonderful cakes Boulangerie Jade, Barry Road, SE22, house blend free-trade and organic coffee served by smiley and lovely staff Norris & Knight, Forest Hill Road, SE22, serving Volcano Coffee Old Spike Roastery, Peckham Rye, SE15, great own-brand coffee from a fantastic social enterprise Romeo Jones, Dulwich Village, SE21, great coffee and great people watching in …

Hectic Host: Slow Coffee

Now Here’s the Thing: Slow Coffee. It is a source of somewhat amusement to see Slow Coffee being introduced as a new trend, there is nothing new about steeping coffee slowly through paper filters. Although the apparatus was hard to come by, back in the day there really was no other way to make coffee. Those who wanted to avoid instant coffee would come back from day trips to France stoked up on filter papers and plastic cones. Gravitational feed was the only way every household or establishment could serve fresh coffee for years until the introduction of more immediate methods such as the cafetiere or French press in the late 1980s. Even the first domestic coffee making machines relied on this principle, filter coffee making machines, that facilitated hot water slowly dribbled through a paper cone of ground roasted beans collecting in a jug below. Pressurised coffee making machines, forcing hot water rapidly through ground coffee, were the preserve of coffee shops and cafés. Even traditional stove top percolators were seldom used in the …

Stocking fillers on your high street for £20 or less

Secret Santa or Stocking Fillers? Your local shops have them all as Lawrence Roullier White discovers Christmas Gift for £20 or less Robin Salt and Pepper Set, £20, Bunka, Dartmouth Road, SE23 Rosie Brewer Mini Walnut Chopping Board, £16.00, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, SE21 Clean Cotton Candle by Croydon Candle Company, £14, Farr & Wyde, Dartmouth Road, SE23 Cat Tree Decoration, £3.50, Horniman Museum & Gardens, London Road, SE23 Tassel Keyring, £6.50, Jaadu, Park Hill Road, SE21 Dachshund Soap & Soap Dish, £13.95, Jumping Bean, Honor Oak Park, SE23 Lamy Fountain Pen, £16, Postmark, North Cross Road, SE22 Jolie Socks, £15, Roullier White, Lordship Lane, SE22 Roosting Box, £4.99, Shannon’s Garden Centre, Stanstead Road, SE23 Art Assassins Rye Shampoo & Conditioner, £5 each, South London Gallery, Peckham Road, SE5 Mondrian Playing Cards, £10.95, The Art Stationers, Dulwich Village, SE21 Big Ben Tree Decoration, £5.50, The Dulwich Trader, Croxted Road, SE21 Jewel Style Tea Light Holder, £4.95, Tomlinson’s, Dulwich Village, SE21 Wooden Pick Up Sticks & Dominoes, £2 each, Wigwam, Rosendale Road, SE21 Assorted Christmas …

Hectic Host: Fireside Fun

It is that time of year when we move the party indoors and start to cocoon with family and friends, as the evenings get longer and the fire becomes ever more tempting. Having spent the summer flitting from one social event to another the winter provides a comforting sanctuary where the only pressure is to relax and enjoy the company. In front of the fire the conversation flows and friends we have known for years become even greater ones. It is for those very evenings that it is always a good idea to have a few icebreakers on the back burner – it never a good idea to too heavily grill a new guest – and sometimes even the closet groups need a little conversational inspiration, especially if the alcohol is flowing too. A favourite game of mine I played in my youth and is one our friends used to call ‘Machiavelli’ – presumably as the founder of modern political science was one of the hardest subjects to guess. When checking online to see if …