London is a city of dinner parties (I assure you they can get quite competitive), and dinner party food in small city apartments is a very specific type of food: gasp-inducing, crowd-pleasing, and—this is a must—very simple to put together. At the risk of sounding like Emily Post, no one likes a haggard hostess.
I'm a sucker for French-American "fusion," and this is my dinner party wonder: a French take on the all-American artichoke and spinach dip. Don't let its pre-movie fast-food connotations deter you. It's excellent, and people love it.
I chop together one pound of frozen spinach and one can of artichoke hearts. Next comes a slug of white wine, a box of garlic and herbs Boursin cheese, cream cheese, and Gruyère. Everything bakes together in the oven like a gratin: the wine starts bubbling up, the Gruyère melts into a golden, elastic blanket, the cream cheese makes everything smoothly dippable. But the secret ingredient is most certainly the Boursin, which in one little box adds creaminess, herbaceousness, and that strong, distinct Boursin garlic flavor.
I toast up little baguette chips to go alongside, although you could use pita chips or—like in the all-American chains—good corn chips. Plunge the chip into the dish of hot, fragrant, green stuff and it will emerge covered in thick creamed spinach, wafting the savory aromas of Boursin. It is so good!