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Village Food & Drink

Eating out is the new eating in

Posted on April 23 2009 at 2:17:11 0 comments

There has been much talk recently about the trend to entertain friends at home rather than going out to expensive restaurants. However, as summer approaches with the promise of warm balmy evenings, then thoughts turn to entertaining out – but out in your garden.

Just as the kitchen is the heart of the home, the patio can be the heart of the garden. Some furniture to sit on, a table to eat at and a barbecue to cook on and you have the key ingredients to a very pleasant evening. Just add a few friends, a bottle or two and hey presto!

But don’t forget to add some sparkle and magic to your evening as well. Garden flares, candles and lights will really add atmosphere and, as the sun dips down, they come into their own. Candles in storm jars on the table reflect and “magnify” the light so you can see what you are eating and who you are talking to!

Flares and other candles around your patio and garden will bring areas alive with light. For best effect, group them in threes in a key location – beside steps or close to a favourite plant or container. Low voltage and good solar lights make a great alternative too, and they are much easier to install than you think.

If you are worried about getting a bit chilly, then a wood-burning chimenea or even a stylish brazier will take the chill out of the air. There is something really heartening about sitting round a blazing fire. A great catalyst for reminiscing!

The food can be a simple or as fancy as you like. A starter of garlic mushrooms or asparagus dripping with butter is easily prepared on your barbecue, and you can grow most of the ingredients yourself! While it is nice to prepare a steak or some fresh fish, good-quality locally-produced sausages bursting with flavour and full of meat will go down a treat. Serve with some fresh crisp salad made from a selection of leaves – home-grown of course!

And for dessert? Well, the joy of eating out is also eating seasonally – stew some home-grown rhubarb in foil with a grating of root ginger served with a dollop of crème fresh or ice cream. Strawberries or raspberries just as they are, or other soft fruit made into a compote, will be delicious, and served at air temperature rather than straight from the fridge – the flavour will be simply divine!

Don’t forget to sprinkle a few water-soaked herbs (rosemary is one of the best for this) on to the cooling barbecue for that evocative Mediterranean smell – you could almost believe you are there!


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