From Hostess with the Leastess to Hostess with the Mostess
Now that we are allowed to start having friends and family for suppers in our gardens, we thought we would talk about how you can go from the hostess with the leastess to the hostess with the mostess, with your very own how to, where to and what to on creating the perfect supper club.
First step, make notes. Plan your evening on paper. How many people do you want? What do you like to eat at other peoples houses? Think of the fruit and veg in season. Cheese board? Colour pallet.
Second step, guest list. Think of the perfect balance. Perhaps a couple of friends you know really well and a few friends you want to know better? Give everyone a plus one?
Third step, flowers. Anything with colour is nice. Think about the sort of theme you want to go for for the whole dinner. Earthy colours are always a good choice. Stem vases are always an easy go to, otherwise why not try a flower frog? Where to find: A G Price Florist, Greta in Flowers, The Urban Flower Co, Grace and Thorn and Sage Flowers.
Fourth step, fruit and vegetables. Always buy extra, often the 'wonky' produce is cheaper and always more fun to look at. As I mentioned before, try to take a seasonal approach. When you're making your menu notes, try not to get too invested in recipes until you've been to the market and seen what's in season. Where to find: Apple 'n Orange, Alexandra Palace Farmers Market, Garden Supply Ltd, and Borough Market. Read more: Seasonal Eating
Fifth step, table-scape. There are loads of fabric mills all over the world, and especially in London. Remember to think about your theme, make sure the table cloth and napkins you choose compliment the flowers you've just bought and the colours in the recipes. Also, think about the bowls and serving dishes you might want to use, you want to avoid too many patterns. A lighter colour works best for the table cloth with darker or lightly patterned napkin colours. For example, if you have chosen the earthy theme, maybe go for a mint green or grey linen fabric for the table cloth and a checked grey and white for the napkins. Think about sizes, make sure you get enough fabric to cover your outside table with a border to fold down the sides. Fraying the edges is a good way to avoid hemming and still looks just as pretty. For the napkins, I would normally do six per meter. Where to find: The Cloth Shop, Woolcrest Textiles, The Linen Works, and The Handweavers Studio and Gallery.
Now everything is ready to prepare.
First thing is first, timing is key. Make sure you give yourself more than enough time to prepare the decorations, make the menu and put on your favourite party frock before your guests arrive.
Here are a few of my favourite Menu ideas:
- Rukmini's The Green Roasting Tin: Picnic Table Menu: Quick Cook Quiche with broccoli, gorgonzola, chili and walnut, Roasted tomato, red pepper and artichoke panzanella, with tarragon and lemon, Herby roasted peppers stuffed with artichokes, olives and feta, and Rainbow tabbouleh with avocado, radishes and pomegranate.
- Gill Meller's Time, a year and a day in the kitchen: A few of my favourites: Oliver's bloody Mary, Summer Garden Tart, Pickled cucumbers with dill and oak , Rhubarb cooked with rose geranium leaves, (or in fact any of his recipes).
- Hemsley and Hemsley The Art of Eating Well: Easy Entertaining: Veg balls with mung bean hummus or Lemon parsley cashew dip, Burritos, Socca pizzas or Flower power pizzas, Fennel, cucumber and dill salad or Kale caesar salad, Chocolate fig pudding.