What could be more brilliant that dining in the garden at dusk, listening to a cardinal calling? On Saturday evening, we had the most brilliant dinner starting with scallops in Pernod and a freshly baked baguette (my sister gave me the coolest gadget for holding the shape of the baguette while it proofs). Our tarragon is sparse this year – I think I’m the only person in the world who can have difficulty growing tarragon! So we garnished the scallops with lemon thyme. The thyme was the perfect compliment.

We then continued by having grilled duck breast served on a chicken stock wine reduction sauce with oven roasted potatoes and Frenched green beans and toasted almonds. And the wine? It was a HUGE and wonderful Australian shiraz from the Clare valley. Many thanks to our friends who sent it to us via her daughter from the wilds of Australia.