Summer in the UK is a very odd experience. One day, you may find yourself waking up with the sun blazing 25 degree heat down upon you, but by tomorrow afternoon there’s a torrential downpour. In England, you have got to seize the opportunity and make the most of sunny weather while you can. Summer is a time for outdoor life, family gatherings and making lots of memories. Outdoor living is a huge part of our lives, where the barbecue is king and the classic garden party is a summer essential (it keeps the kids busy for hours, too!).
Create a Vibrant Spread
There is nothing worse than turning up to a party without any decent food. When the barbecue has been fired up it can be easy to forget about the cold food additions that make the meal. If you are struggling to find inspiration for your table, if you are passionate about a raw food diet like I am, we’ve got a recipe to share with you…and you don’t even have to turn the oven on! We say the only cooking done for an event like this should be on the barbecue. Mediterranean couscous salad is perfect for al fresco dining; a fantastically easy and affordable way to create a bowl bursting with summer flavours and is sure to be a hit with your guests:
Mediterranean Couscous Salad (serves 4-6 guests):
- Juice of 1 large grapefruit (about ½ cup)
- Juice of 1 small lemon (about ¼ cup)
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- a dash of Tabasco sauce
- ¼ tsp coarse salt
- Salad ingredients:
- 1 cup whole wheat couscous, dry
- 2 medium tomatoes, rinsed, diced
- 3 peppers (yellow, red and orange), rinsed finely diced
- 1 (15.5 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup fresh coriander , rinsed and chopped
- 1/4 cup of fresh mint, rinsed and chopped
- Place all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk.
- Place the dry couscous in a large bowl, pour the dressing over the couscous and stir well just once; set aside, uncovered for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, place the remaining ingredients in the bowl and gently stir
- Ready to serve as a vegan friendly meal or add slices of chicken
Keep the Drinks Flowing
Water, ice tea, smoothies, slushies, beer, cider, cocktails, whatever your choice of drink it is important to keep them flowing throughout the day. As your party transitions from day to evening, it can be a challenge to keep drinks cool for your guests. Ice buckets are essential. Don’t have one? Use a large flower pot or wheelbarrow instead. Tip: cover your glass using an upside-down cupcake liner with a straw through it to stop bugs and other unwanted guests from dive-bombing into your drink. Providing both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options is always a good idea, and it is easy to get creative with what you choose to serve – just remember that you can add vibrant garnish to food and drink to pack a punch full of summer flavours, such as strawberry lemonade or a fresh mint mojito.
Set the Scene
The secret to a great garden party is in your choice of decor. Colour schemes and party themes are excellent ways to step out of the norm and put your own stamp on the occasion. For garden design ideas, it’s time to pick a colour palette and apply it to the whole party; from the invitations to place settings, dress theme or even the food you choose to serve. For a natural, modern look without breaking the bank, we recommend our faux rattan garden furniture set.
When it’s time to get the garden furniture all dressed up, wrap lightweight or gauzy material around your garden table and chairs with some light floral arrangements to strengthen the theme without going overboard. For small garden design ideas or perhaps just an intimate gathering, patio furniture sets can be transformed by hanging small paper lanterns or string lights around a parasol for a gazebo-like effect.
However you are planning to spend your summer days, remember to enjoy yourself. Just as nature’s beauty is in the imperfections, your event should be perfectly imperfect. Coming from my own experience, hosting an event can be a stressful time, so be sure to take some time to let your hair down and have a boogie with a big glass of wine in hand.
Here’s to enjoying the summer,
Love Scape xxx