GET THE LOOK: AL FRESCO DINING IN CORNWALL
PUBLISHED: 18:16 30 August 2016 | UPDATED: 12:36 30 August 2017
There is something rather special about dining al fresco - and this is how you can serve up a slice of garden entertaining
Few things are more sociable then dining al fresco – whether it’s a sprawling mass of family and friends chomping freshly made pizza or barbecued chicken satay wrapped up in homemade flatbreads – or something more formal, this month should be 30 days and nights of outdoor eating before summer officially ends.
For the adventurous eating outdoors means cooking outdoors – whether wheeling out the bucket barbecue or standing at the helm of your outdoor kitchen featuring pizza ovens, prep areas and tandoori ovens - here's to wishing for a sunny September.
Forget the barbecue - there has never been such a choice of outdoor kitchen equipment on offer. Pizza ovens are a favourite – wood-burning of course to help take any chilly edge from a Cornish summer evening…We love the South West designed Roccobox. And this year my head has been turned by outdoor mini bar (see for their lovely Bar Lady Rocks £295).
Of course you can go the whole hog and create your own outdoor kitchen. Aim for somewhere sheltered from the worst of the weather and the midday sun – but not to hidden away so the cook can still socialise. Get one for free by saving up your old kitchen cabinets when you refit – or create an outdoor kitchen area with a handful of bricks and a solid slab of wood (remember everything will need to be weatherproofed if you want to use it next year).
No counting how many people fit around the dining room table, no need to count up matching flatware and china – at no other dinner party will people squat so happily on the floor and eat with their fingers. Arrange outdoor furniture into small groups to encourage conversational cabals, providing seating hints with throw cushions on low walls and spread out a blanket or two on your lawn – we love the range of outdoor mats and rugs from Made of superheroic polypropylene.
Occasional tables can come into their own here and there are plenty of inexpensive nests – from coloured perspex to metal frames with multi-coloured tops which will offer space for lighting and encourage people against leaving plates and glasses on the floor and creating a low-lit obstacle course.
Never mind the china and flatware that will clog your dishwasher for days, head for the party stores for something disposable. I know it’s not great for the environment but as an occasional treat for the dishwasher there is something to be said for disposable plates, cutlery and glasses. Combine it with classy slabs of slate and wood for serving.