There’s nothing we enjoy more than a gathering of good friends so as we slowly settle ourselves into the longer evenings and prepare for the season ahead we asked founder Alby to share a typical Woven gathering with us…
Q: What’s your idea of the perfect gathering?
Alby: Inviting friends over for food is something I absolutely love to do and one of the best parts for me is spending time thinking about who I’ve invited and what they might enjoy eating. Now that it’s Spring, often a warm salad or a mix of middle eastern dishes with the aroma of gentle spices wafting through the house. If my daughter is around she will often make bread or bake a treat for desert, we love to cook together.
When I have people over I want to spend every moment I can with them to enjoy their company to the full so I tend to serve dishes that can be served all together and put on the table for everyone to tuck in and help themselves to. The best gatherings are relaxed and informal, that’s definitely the Woven way.
Q: Do you have a favourite go to recipe?
Alby: I love a Middle Eastern vibe as this can be adapted for all seasons and also to suit both vegetarians and meat eaters alike. My absolute all-time favourite go to would be any of the recipes in Persiana by Sabrina Chayer. Her recipes are delicious and have never let me down. If I had to choose just one it would probably be (insert your fave!) (See recipe below) which I tend to adapt depending on what’s in the cupboard and serve with a pilaf, flatbreads, yoghurt dip and Dukha.
Q: What else could we expect if we were lucky enough to be invited over?
Alby: You’re guaranteed a warm and inviting welcome. Ahead of having people over I relish taking time over the finer details and choosing which linens, candles and flowers I’ll use to style the table. It very much depends on what we’re eating and the time of year but the table will always be laid with one of my much loved heavy old linen tablecloths, a Brocante find table runner and, of course, plenty of candles and flowers. Knives and forks are a mix of vintage and I tend to buy wooden serving spoons when I travel from a maker as I cannot resist! I have collected a selection of old serving boards and also WonkiWear which I use all the time.
Q: Do you burn scented candles at the table?
Alby: Generally I have unscented natural candles on the table but I will light either a Teakwood & Tobacco or Amber & Moss candle ahead of friends arriving to fill the house with gentle fragrance to greet them at the door. I do also like a candle in the bathroom.
Q: What music will be on in the background?
Alby: Gregory Porter is a favourite and so too is the Mellow Dinner playlist on Spotify. Am also loving Brighton based musician Tom Misch or Jordan Rakei at the moment. It does depend on who my guests are really and whether the evening is calm or with a party vibe.
Q: I can’t believe we didn’t ask sooner but what drinks will you be serving?
Alby: Prosecco & wine, depending on the dish and who’s coming, of course. There’s always a welcome cocktail and nine times out of ten it will be an Amaretto Sour. Then again, sometimes all that's needed is a cold beer.
Q: Are you one of those people who tends to cook too much?
Alby: There’s always plenty of food and if there’s anything left at the end of the night I’ll pack people home with a bit of whatever to ensure nothing goes to waste.