Friday, December 16, 2011

party tips

Country Living Magazine called recently to ask me for my holiday entertaining tips  are a few of them which are in their December issue:

1. Prosecco is a perfect party Italian sparkling white wine, it is light, fizzy and affordable, and  comes in beautiful bottles that I fill a big silver punch bowl with
2. White crudite: a platter or low glass cylinder of fennel slices, cauliflower florets, blanched white asparagus, endive leaves, and celery are perfect with an herbed yogurt/sour cream dip
3. Candlelight: soft lighting and lots of white candles create a wonderful ambience
4. Real glasses: I always stock up on inexpensive wine glasses at Ikea that I keep stored for parties...
so much nicer than plastic, and less costly than renting them.
5. I always welcome my guests with a drink and then tell them to make themselves at home and show them the bar where they can help themselves for the next drink
6. White flowers: I love simple big loose arrangements of amaryllis, paperwhites and tulips in glass cylinders or growing  in terra cotta pots with moss as they will last the whole holiday season

Photograph by Jeff McNamara from At Home with Wedgwood by Tricia Foley

Friday, December 9, 2011

a christmas tablesetting by the sea

a soft palette inspired by the sea includes shells, snips of cedar and blue berries, and white flowering bulbs... wedgwood cream china, handblown glass,  knotted rope napkin rings, and names or a message in a bottle set the scene for this holiday luncheon by the sea...scallop shells become salt cellars, a conch shell becomes the cachepot for a little cypress tree and even the cream flannel stocking has mother of pearl button trim....  
photographed by jeff mcnamara

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I love lots of glass + candlelight for holiday tablesettings...potted bulbs, natural wood, and votives, too
 from White Christmas by Tricia Foley, photograph by Wm P Steele

Friday, November 25, 2011

a paperwhite christmas

enjoying the potted  paperwhites ready to bloom for the new general store

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

pumpkin ravioli


pumpkin ravioli with brown butter sage sauce

24 large pumpkin filled ravioli
2 bunches of fresh sage leaves, washed and dried
1/8-1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1tablespoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

prepare store bought pumpkin ravioli per directions.
while ravioli is cooking (8-10 minutes), prepare the sauce.
heat olive oil in skillet, and stir the sage leaves until crispy.
drain ravioli and bathe the ravioli in the skillet to absorb the flavored olive oil.
place layers of parmesan, red pepper flakes, sage leaves, pine nuts with olive oil coated ravioli in platter

I found the last bunch of sage leaves in the herb garden and harvested them for my favorite fall easy recipe to stand on its own with a big salad, or accompany turkey leftovers this thanksgiving weekend!
photograph by matthew mead from autumn with matthew mead issue 

Monday, November 21, 2011

thanksgiving weekend

although traditional Thanksgiving with my family is at my sister's home in the Hamptons,  I aways have houseguests over the the weekend, and my new favorite menu includes pumpkin ravioli with a brown butter sage sauce...a big arugula salad with parmesan + pine nuts, and a hearty red wine...
will be serving this menu to friends coming out to the new general store pop up shop this weekend!
Matthew Mead photographed our setting for his Autumn with Matthew Mead issue
still available on his website with recipes

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

my new favorite restaurant in london, story, is at 3  redchurch street near labor and wait, and makes the best pizzas in wonderful combinations...I had roasted pumpkin with goats cheese and red onion, and a bottle of pear and apple cider...the setting is serene and designed with beautiful vintage furnishings in a whitewashed setting....everything from the beautiful graphics on kraft paper cards and menus to the open pizza oven kitchen make it a perfect destination to relax and indulge  on a rainy day in the collages of black + white portraits and inspirational photos that tell a story and  are on boards amidst the well-worn tables and natural appointments...can't wait to go back again in spring!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

simple setting

love the simplicity of these hemmed natural linen placemats and napkins...with overscaled plates in tonal  colors,  slate placecards , and a warming fire, its a perfect kitchen setting for a cool fall supper...photograph by jeff mcnamara

Sunday, October 2, 2011

shortbread and tea

Sunday afternoon with a pot of tea, shortbread by the fire and the NYTimes ...a good time to recharge...photograph by jeff mcnamara

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

indian summer supper

no need for fussy table linens with this beautiful weathered wood table by roy hardin for the new general store...lanterns for candlelight, soft linen napkins weighted down by stones and big buffet plates make it simple and comfortable...a few pots of herbs add greenery and flavor...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

corn from the farmstand

this last summer weekend is the time to enjoy the end of summer produce: corn on the cob sprinkled with mint, rosemary or citrus salt is the best!
salts from

Friday, August 26, 2011

sprig of rosemary

signifying remembrance, a simple sprig of rosemary is perfect for each placesetting: decorative, fragrant, and useful for personal flavoring ...I love using it in salads, and soups, and to flavor caramelized onions, ratatouille, and grilled pizzas...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

summer afternoon

a simple summer lunch at the boathouse...photographs by tara sgroi, tabletop available at

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

summer cheese course

I love to put a few simple white cheeses on a platter with a drizzle of lavender honey on the goat cheese, and some lemon verbena jelly on the side with a basket of carr's water biscuits....a lighter version for summer with more delicate flavors, a manchego, chevre, and gruyere with a big green salad is perfect for a light lunch on these steamy days..."Summer" photograph by matthew mead

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

candles in a jar

practical and pretty, these white candles in mason jars filled with sand are just the thing for a picnic supper tablesetting...they weigh down the tablecloth, the candles are protected from any breezes, and they bring a chic, simple style to the table from Donna Hay magazine

Sunday, July 24, 2011

watermelon salad

on these steamy days of summer, my new favorite lunch from the farmstand is watermelon salad with chunks of feta, fresh mint, toasted pine nuts drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil. With a chilled glass of rose' it's easy and refreshing...also perfect for a first course for dinner!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

summer at the beach

with a blue sky and sea this color, it sets the scene for a simple tablesetting on a weathered wood table, cream dinnerware, classic glassware and hurricanes, and pretty pale blue napkins...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

white glasses

milkglass tumblers ready for cool summery drinks or bunches of wildflowers for the table

Friday, June 24, 2011

ice cream and berries

the perfect end to a summer meal is simple...a small container of vanilla ice cream decanted on a white platter and surrounded with mounds of mixed blackberries and blueberries around the base...I just put a big silver spoon with it and let guests help themselves...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

summer lunch in the studio

I love mixing clean modern pieces like the jasper conran dinnerware with rustic old jugs and tin cups used for wildflowers...the glasses for water and wine are the classic tavern glasses from colonial williamsburg, and the white porcelain cheese server i found at liberty's in london a few years ago...the table is a an old picnic table painted a deep grey which gives it a totally different look and works well inside or out!
photographs by simon upton for set with style

Saturday, June 4, 2011

tray time

setting up trays for a buffet makes it easy and organized ...its always so tricky juggling plates and glasses and flatware while trying to put food on your plate!
I keep a stack of trays ready for action when I have too many guests for one table set for lunch or dinner...flatware is by david mellor, jasper conran china by wedgwood

Monday, May 30, 2011

cucumber sandwiches

thinly sliced bread without crusts, a little bit of sweet butter and sprinkle of sea salt, and a few cucumbers and sprouts make the perfect summer tea sandwich...

photograph by keith scott morton from HAVING TEA

Friday, May 20, 2011

water bottles

I have a collection of water bottles that I use on the table for lunches and dinners and also put in guest rooms on the bedside tables, and keep a bottle chilling in fridge
with mint from the garden...we have lots of beautiful carafes and bottles for sale this weekend at The New General

Thursday, May 19, 2011

dining by candlelight

a glimpse into the dining the candlelight from this period chandelier ...Matthew Mead has featured it in his new Summer issue with tips on candles and tablesettings

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

napkin stack

I always use stones or shells from the beach to keep a stack of napkins in place at a buffet, especially when entertaining outdoors! Linen napkins by Fog Linen at The New General Store. photograph by marili forastieri

Saturday, May 14, 2011

tea for two or three

full blown white ranunculus with a stack of vintage Wedgwood plates and silver ...all ready for tea.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

the boathouse

this is the time of year to invite friends over to sit down at the dock for drinks end of day...simple fare of cool white wine, goat cheese drizzled with honey, sprinkled with herbs and a bowl of almonds...
photographs by marili forastieri

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

irish farm table

this irish country kitchen is warmed up by the beautiful sea green color i painted the hutch...filled with jasper conran china it is the perfect backdrop for an irish breakfast and a view of the sea through the shuttered windows..

Sunday, April 24, 2011

spring lunch on the porch

getting ready for warmer weather and many meals with friends on the porch...white plates, simple jugs of seasonal flowers, soft linen napkins...out on long island, a lazy sunday brunch with friends is easy with a frittata, salad greens, pink grapefruit juice with prosecco...guests brought the perfect hostess gifts: a mason jar filled with daffodils, a pot of chives just sprouting, cheese from the farmers is spring.

Friday, April 22, 2011

earth tones for earth day

love setting the table with natural linens and vintage flatware...this is a shot of the table set for lunch with Matthew Mead and Sally McElroy during our photo shoot for his new Summer issue ...Matthew wrote about our lunch in his blog: www. Holiday...with MatthewMead

Friday, April 15, 2011

easter lunch

I've always loved this tablesetting that Martha Stewart Living shot at my house a couple of years will inspire my easter lunch table this year!
photograph by dana gallagher

Sunday, April 10, 2011

a beatrix potter spring

This time of year, with easter coming, birds chirping and flowers blooming, I think of Beatrix Potter and her beautiful home, Hilltop Farm, in the Lake District in England...her botanical and natural history illustrations are just as important as her children's tales of Peter Rabbit and his adventures in Mr. McGregor's cabbage patch. She left hundreds of acres of preserved farmland to the National Trust and her legacy can now be shared with many visitors from around the world.
This tablesetting, a children's tea, was created for "At Home with Wedgwood" and children are still having tea with Peter Rabbit more than one hundred years after she
illustrated this story and created this china.
Miss Potter is a wonderful story of her life that fills in the blanks!
"At Home with Wedgwood"by Tricia Foley, photographs by Jeff McNamara