All of this to say that I wanted there to be preamble to this, a discussion of the different ways people prepare for having friends over for food, how far ahead you issue invitations, how many courses you prepare, how long you spend in the kitchen.
And the point of the lost preamble that I now realise was probably superfluous was just this. I love feeding my friends. I love to cook food that I know people will like. I love to sit at the table and eat and chat until late at night or, more often, the early hours of the morning but for me that means inviting people over, sometimes in advance, sometimes that day. It means planning a meal so that I can drink a glass of wine and chat before we sit down. It means that starters are more usually nibbles. It means a big pot on the table with instructions to all to help themselves.
Last Saturday it meant inviting Catherine over on a whim, it meant gin and tonic, it meant Nigella's moroccan roast lamb marinaded in ras-el-hanout, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil from Forever Summer, it meant green couscous from Plenty.