Make a Meal of it

With her #makeamealofit mantra, Laura Jackson gave us all such fab inspiration during Lockdown days. So naturally, when she wanted to bring an Italian holiday home this summer, this brought big smiles all around. Bespoke menus and placecards were adorned with hand-drawn elements and colours chosen to evoke the perfect Italian vibe. Here, she gives us a bit more insight into her summer at home style. 

What is your prescription for a perfect summer's night al fresco? What are you drinking? What are you eating? What are you listening to?
Laura Jackson: The perfect evening means enjoying food that’s not too complicated so that the focus is on the guest as well as having a great drink that won’t get everyone too tipsy, but is quite light and refreshing. A summer Bellini is my go-to drink as you can make alcoholic or non-alcoholic so everyone is happy. Marco from High Quality Foods makes the most incredible purees to make this an easy task (and they deliver!). Choose from peach, blood orange, white peach, mango and passion fruit purees, mix a few together to create your own incredible Italian Belinis. Top up with fizzy water or prosecco and enjoy!
Summer dinners usually mean preparing big sharing plates, however at the moment, that’s not the best approach. Instead, little nibbles of delicious cheeses and nuts, as well as really nice prosciutto are the best approach. Panzanella salads are my go to and a wonderful way to use up all of those juicy summer tomatoes. Gazpacho offers punchy flavours and a beautiful impact on the table. Cooking an entire fish is quite a wow type approach as well. 
Summer soundtracks at home are easy listening like Northern Soul or a film soundtrack like ‘Call Me by Your Name’ which reminds me of Italy and summer in general. 
Girl crush, Laura Jackson, brings the classic Italian trattoria home this summer. Have a little look at her Vittoria Trattoria, complete with bespoke menus of course…

Describe your at home entertaining personality. Do you envision at home entertaining to keep at this pace once things return to 'normal’? 

My at home style is quite relaxed to be honest, however being organised and doing lots of prep before my guests arrive is key to enjoying an evening at home. Keeping the menu simple with items like crudite and plates of ham which are presented beautifully means I’m not running around while everybody is here. I like to create starters and desserts that I can arrange ahead of time so that I’m only cooking the main meal. At home entertaining, whether for yourself and your partner or for a small group, is here to stay for the foreseeable! 

Share your favourite way to spend a summer's day in London. 
I LOVE London in the summer. It’s just the best place in the world in my opinion. Going to the park with my friends, cycling around with that kind of ‘wind-in-your-hair' type of freedom, then all gathering on blankets in the grass. Everyone has brought a dish to nibble on, is having a drink or two in the sunshine and forgetting about time, letting the day flow. 
What’s your favourite summer dessert? 
Ice cream all summer long. La Grotta Ices, has the most delicious recipes and I’ve been making the Pistachio Gelato for years. Top tip, high quality pistachios are a must (from High Quality Foods, of course!).