Summer months are (usually!) the ideal time to embrace social occasions with vibrant dishes and joy-filled gatherings. We’re all doing our best to safely navigate new lockdown guidelines and whilst we’re only able to meet a handful of people outside, alfresco dining is the perfect way to enjoy quality time with friends and family.
There are few things I love more than inviting friends and family round in the Summer for a spot of alfresco dining or barbecue. If, like me, you’re lucky enough to have outside space then now is a great time to make the most of the gorgeous weather. Planning your alfresco dinner party ahead of time with my simple steps will help your evening run as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Keep It Simple
This means less time in the kitchen. You won’t leave guests waiting for you to join them at the table; you can relax and enjoy the day with everyone else. Keep your menu fool proof and cook dishes you’re familiar with (this means you can keep drinking throughout the day!) such as simple, easy to assemble sharing mains.
The Power Of Prep
Prepare the day before. I always prepare as much as I can in advance. My fridge and freezer become my best friend when it comes to entertaining. I’ll always make my dips, dressings and marinades ahead. And the day before, I’ll prepare the meat, fish and vegetables so that on the day, there’s minimal time spent locked away in the kitchen.
For the main course I’m all about big sharing dishes placed along the table so that everyone can help themselves. But remember: keep it simple. My focus would be on serving one crowd-pleasing centerpiece with lots of sides that everyone can tuck into throughout the meal.
With that in mind, I’ve created some fresh, vibrant salads & main dishes that will wow your guests and you can easily prepare in advance. The last few months have been stressful enough, alfresco entertaining doesn’t need to be!
– Broccoli Rice Salad (recipe here)
– Herb & Lemon Cauliflower Tabbouleh with Pomegranate & Mint (recipe here)
– Ricotta, Leek & Thyme Quiche for a crowd (recipe here)
– Herby Lentil & Tomato Salad (recipe here)
– Candied Beet Carpaccio & Goats Cheese Salad (recipe here)
Keep your ‘bar’ area separate… strategically position a drinks station (or trolley if you have one spare!) away from the barbecue or your outside cooking/prep space. You’ll definitely thank me later for this little tip, as when the pressure is on to get food on the table, it’ll be super helpful to avoid having any bottlenecks – not to mention good for social distancing!
When entertaining, setting the scene is essential. How? Follow my top tips for entertaining alfresco and make the most of those long summer evenings.