The need to entertain pulses through my veins. It’s a creative, nurturing hereditary urge that was put there by my mother, my grandmother and her mother before that. Instinctively the women of our clan (my forebears were Scottish grain merchants), have slapped down loaves, plates and bowls full of nourishing concoctions in beautified farm sheds, magazine-worthy suburban homes and quaint coastal baches across New Zealand for generations, and this love to nourish with style continues with me. This female entertaining blood runs thick it seems as both my daughters are crackers in the kitchen and can wrangle a meal and lay a table far better than I could at their age. “That’s corker, girl,” my Nana Jean would undoubtedly say, if she was still here.

Rather blissfully, I’ve mystifyingly managed it so styling tables, conjuring events, manufacturing recipes and making food look good is also my day job. Hosting and styling is my life – ‘hostyling’ as I fondly call it.

However partial I am to cheddar cheese and pickled onion sandwiches, corned beef with mustard sauce and a decent whack of my Nana’s apple shortcake (fondly branded her ‘apple slab’ either due to the obscenely heavy amount of juicy apple or the gargantuan size of the tray she baked it in), my own tables lean more to Mediterranean flavours with a sideswipe of familiar Kiwi-ness always thrown in. Working in Italian-themed restaurants to survive art school, and my marriage to a Frenchman have rubbed off. I’m no longer shy of a slop of booze or glug of olive oil where necessary, Napoleonesque knobs of butter are tossed about incessantly and a pot of crème fraîche is pretty much my ride or die.

Justifications aside, these are some of my favourite late-summer recipes to share with those I can tolerate, utilising all the glorious things in my currently lush and floriferous garden – long may it last.