The way we dine and entertain changes during the Summer weeks with barbecues, picnics and Summer parties preferred to traditional indoor dining. We have devised some top tips to make the most of al fresco dining occasions. Recently undertaking a survey to reveal the top traits of a ‘Good Cook’ shared by culinary creatives, and we discovered that confidence, experimentation and knowledge as the key characteristics shared by ‘good cooks’.
We hope our al fresco dining tips provide knowledge and inspire confidence and experimentation in all aspiring and accomplished cooks to make the most of the Summer heat and outdoor dining occasions. Here’s some simple tips to follow.
Be bold at barbecues
If planning a barbecue this Summer, some key tips include making sure to pre-heat the grill before using it and combining cooking meats like chicken in the oven first and then the barbecue to avoid the dangers of undercooked meat.
Skewers of cheese and vegetables or meat and fruit are popular at barbecues and a great way to experiment both with different colours and flavour combinations.
Cut each ingredient to the same size however, to ensure even cooking.
Use the right cooking utensils to avoid losing sausages and other items down the grill.
Try homemade burgers that can be as simple as a choice of meat with seasoning but can taste a lot better than shop-bought burgers – and will impress guests!
Prepare a picnic with panache
Take advantage of some of the lovely local heritage parks and prepare a picnic with added panache. Using a colourful picnic rug, plates and cups can really bring out the best of the Summer and get everyone in high Summer spirits.
Create a tasty and fruity dessert to take with you like our cherry trifle which only takes 30 minutes of preparation and a further 30 minutes of cooking time. This will not only add vibrant, fruity colour to your picnic, but really bring a taste of the Summer.
Alongside other favourite chilled drinks, try infusing fruit in water or adding fresh mint and/or cucumber to chilled water to give a really refreshing taste.
Keep items chilled with ice blocks to avoid upset tummies. Items like salad dressings should be kept in separate containers (use old jars for example) and should only be added when ready to eat.
Our gingerbread shortbread recipe is a great addition to any picnic also.
Sizzle with a Summer party
Take advantage of this Summer’s series of sporting events by inviting family and friends round for a Summer party.
Don’t forget to cater for vegetarians with delicious delights such as our spiced supreme chicken with roasted butternut squash and grapes on saffron infused barley.
For light Summer party bites, try the asparagus and sweetcorn frittata which can be prepared while guests are enjoying some cold drinks like Pimm’s or white wine in the garden.
Use water filled frozen balloons to keep drinks cold and to add fun and colour to your Summer party presentation. Have a dirty dishes bin in one corner of the garden alongside a cardboard box or back for rubbish to minimise mess and the clearing up afterwards.
Summer is the perfect time to gather friends and family around the table for some summer dining. What do you have in store this summer? Let us know via our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages.