I have long been of the opinion that many of the best repasts are also the simplest. Don't get me wrong - I love the theatre of a grand restaurant with a hierarchy of sommeliers and a brigade of waiters but those are for high days and important anniversaries and not the everyday. I've always been enamoured by the unplanned, spontaneous and thrown together meal. Not 'What shall we eat?' but 'What can we eat?'. Charles Arrowby creates some wonderfully Spartan collations in Iris Murdoch's 'The Sea, The Sea' and 'greatly enjoyed' an amalgamation of 'baked beans and kidney beans with chopped celery, tomatoes, lemon juice and olive oil. (Really good olive oil is essential...)'. I agree with Charles on that, if little else (bar a love of swimming). He paired that 'feast' with a bottle of Muscadet (I digress) but it was published in 1978 so he probably would have.
A key component to a fine 'scratch' meal is good bread. I am blessed by living a short walk from a magnificent bakery. The 'Rye Bakery', by Frome station, since you ask, and their West Country sourdough (depicted) is a thing of wonder. Frankly, I'm quite contented if I just have some butter with that but if I can add some tomatoes, basil, feta, mint, spring onions and butter beans to the mix then I'm overjoyed. This was the basis of my first al fresco lunch of the year and I'm sure Charles would approve. As we're outdoors my 'go to' wine would be rosé - this month's Tavel 'La Forcadière' in the recently shipped 2019 vintage would be perfection. There you go, 'less can be more' - it's not just about good cooking it's also about good shopping but, of course, you know that because you're reading this.