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The Summer months are normally the perfect time (when it’s not raining) to enjoy quality time outside with friends and family eating and drinking al fresco.I love nothing more than having our close friends and family over during the Summer months for a bbq or alfresco dining….fresh air, blue skies and warm nights gazing at the stars make this experience quite magical. I also love the planning, the preparing, the cooking, the little touches and ofcourse the dining itself when it comes to al fresco dining.Here’s some of my simple steps on how to plan and organise a stress free al fresco meal outside!

Prep and Plan

I always prep and plan as much as I can in advance. I grab a pad and pen and then review what’s inside the fridge and kitchen cupboards, this allows me to use up what we already have.I then plan what dishes I’ll be cooking and what food needs to be purchased.  The day before the feast, I’ll prepare and marinate the meat and fish in the kitchen and store in the Fridge, so that on the day, there’s minimal time spent inside and more time outside so I can enjoy the day with our guests.

Keep it simple

Don’t overcomplicate the day by cooking lots of different dishes. You’ll only end up using every type of utensil and bowl from your kitchen and will be stuck to the kitchen sink washing and drying them all up, which is no fun when you have guests!

Sharing is caring

I love to cook big sharing dishes for everyone to enjoy, dishes like paella, tray bakes and Tagines. This is when you can finally use your favourite large serving bowls normally stored in the corner kitchen cupboard and place them on your garden table with smaller side dishes so that everyone can enjoy and help themselves.

Set the scene

I believe that the small little touches make dining outside so magical…Reuse old jam / sauce glass jars to create little flower displays or candle holders to decorate outside.Create a drinks station, ideally away from the barbecue zone / garden table area as these can become quite congested. You can organise a small area to host all your glasses, ice bucket, stirrers and of course your chilled refreshments.
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