Amelia Freer’s guide to al fresco dining. Your friends will never want to leave…
Picture the scene: The sun is setting in a haze of pinky-orange, the air is warm and heavy with the scent of sweet peas. The table is set, the music playing, the guests arrive and linger for hours long after the sun has gone to bed and the stars have come out to play…
Where are we? ‘An English country garden’.
Talk us through the table decoration... ‘It’s strewn with lavender, roses from the garden and wild flowers from the surrounding fields’.
How do you set the mood? ‘I love candles for the flickering light they emit. If you’re a fan of scented candles, I find the delicate sweetness of fig complements rather than clashes with food’.
What are we listening to? ‘Gentle jazz or someone playing a piano in the background’.
What are you wearing? ‘A pretty summer dress – al fresco dining is about being relaxed and carefree’.
What’s your secret weapon power ingredient? ‘Lemon or lime zest on everything!’
What would be your perfect menu for a starter, main course and dessert? ‘Carpaccio of beetroot to start; slow cooked lamb with lemony broad beans, kale & chard as the main; mango & lime ice cream to finish in a fresh way that still feels like a treat’.
What are we drinking? ‘Gimlets. (Gin, lime juice, a dash of coconut syrup and ice) or just fresh sparkling elderflower water’.
Any last pearls of wisdom..?! ‘Don’t worry about everything being perfect! Enjoying the moment with your friends or family makes for a better evening than anything you could possibly cook’.