Gourmet Inspiration May
Fabulous Ideas for Summer Entertaining
1 Create a two-minute centrepiece by dropping a votive candle into a tall skinny glass, and tying a short, simple bloom like a dahlia, to the outside with a ribbon.
2 Stay skinny for summer by serving low-cal cocktails with dinner instead of the usual vintages.
3 Select seasonal produce by creating dishes out of the freshest ingredients including asparagus, chicory and new potatoes.
4 Cheat with readymade appetisers from your local Lebanese bakery; the little hot pastries go perfectly with a crisp, fresh salad.
5 Keep it fresh by serving cold appetisers on an ice serving tray to make sure your fruits, salads and dips stay fresh for all-day parties.
In The Latino Spirit
Although Cinco de Mayo commemorates freedom and democracy during the early years of the American Civil War, today it represents Mexican heritage and pride, and, in my opinion, is just another good excuse to fire up the barbeque and get your fiesta on. Central American food is made for sharing… and spilling too, so nice party frocks should be dark or patterned to hide the spoils of an indulgent evening. It’s also one for the kids, as crispy fish tacos, organic enchiladas, big juicy burritos and mountains of creamy guacamole with chips can be kept mild, with the optional Margarita cheesecake reserved for the grown-ups.
Decor should be fun, erring on the side of tacky, with paper lanterns, strung lights, sombreros for guests and a piñata filled with sweet treats. Tableware can be mix and match – rustic blue and white terracotta plates do the trick perfectly. Finally, remember that this celebration should be joyful, stress-free and rough around the edges – an authentic way to catch up with old friends.
Try www.moushii.com for generic party decorations, www.uaepartybox.com for a piñata, and Dragon Mart for cheap and cheerful paper lanterns.
Light Me Up
As we start spending more time indoors, and at each other’s dinner tables, now is the perfect opportunity to remedy one of my pet hates. Just as we love to check our reflection in a mirror that hangs beneath flattering light, it’s just as important to consider illuminating your dining space so your guests feel satiated, not interrogated. The trick is to subvert recessed ceiling lights by installing a statement chandelier over your table, controlled by a dimmer switch, so you can set the mood. For lunch, diffused natural light will bathe your guests in a glow, not a sweaty glare, and leave you to remark upon how gorgeous everyone looks as you tuck in.
Rue Kothari is the Editor of Harper’s Bazaar Interiors. Follow her on Twitter @RueKothari.