Summer has been fabulous hasn't it? For most of us it was the summer we always dreamed of. There were barbeques that didn't have to be rained off, picnics that didn't require us to wear a chunky knit and warm evenings spent drinking wine in a beer garden rather than begrudgingly by the fire.
That said, the evenings are getting colder and darker and the leaves are about to turn, so instead of looking back to sun-kissed days let's embrace the next part of our year.
I met the very handsome Valentine Warner, got some fabulous recipes for a three course autumnal feast and I also invited myself round for dinner.
Valentine, I would very much like to come over for dinner, I'm not fussy and I don't ask for much - but I must just say that I want a big, delicious autumn feast. What exactly are you going to dazzle me with?
Cold oysters, whelks and other shell fish
A huge wood roasted pizza with paper thin sliced potato, mozzarella and truffles
Wood roasted mallards with pickled walnuts, cabbages and roast apples and Welsh rarebit
Prune and Armagnac brulee
What wine will we drink with our meal? And if I were to bring you a bottle as a present what would be your favourite?
Rene Schmidt - Gewürztraminer 1983 (although I am not sure how good it would be now) then a light Rhone. I'd also like to try a very young petit gris from the Val D'Aosta as I've never had it before and it would make a fine present.
As much as I would like this to be a dinner for two Val, it's a dinner party so who else would you invite?
Terry Thomas, Angelica Houston, Paul Merton and Elizabeth David.
What would we listen to?
Sorry, I don't like having music at the table but I could stretch to putting on a bit of Headless Heroes or maybe Eartha Kitt.
I assume that we won't be eating off our knees so how would you decorate the table to impress us? I've heard that Angelica Houston can be very fussy.
You assume wrong, we will all be upside down.
What would be your last ever meal?
I would start off with 50g of caviar and some iced vodka which would be washed down with fresh sashimi prepared by Japan's best chef and of course a lot of cold sake. I would follow with some grilled ceps prepared with lemon and oil and a large bottle of Dunkertons black fox cider.
I'm sure I would still have plenty of room left so I'll go for poached bacon puy lentils with mustard sauce, some excellent cheeses and a glass of good burgundy. Then something hot with pistachios and chocolate and a good glass of vintage Hine. With a bit of luck I will have died of gout before the noose goes around my neck.
What are the five ingredients everyone should have in their cupboards?
Pimento (Spanish smoked paprika)
A selection of good mustards
Green Split peas
Good Walnut oil
What is the secret guilty pleasure you cook for yourself when there is no one else around?
Frankfurters - cold from the pack and covered in German mustard.
If I were to return the favour and have you round for dinner, what should I make for you as a treat?
Liver and onions will do nicely please.
Please tell me about the ingredients and the recipes you've chosen for us?
The delicious brown meat of crab is so underrated these days and I think people turn their noses up and say "yuk" without really having tried it.
Lovage is a herb that I really think should make a comeback and duck confit is my favourite salted meat. I don't think it gets the attention it deserves in the UK and I want that to change. Freshly cooked beetroots are one of my particular favourite things and queen of puddings, quite simply is the taste of happiness.
Valentine's three course menu
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