Take the Kitchen Outside
14th July 2016
Barbecues and picnics; dine al fresco this summer with a candle lit dinner and a glass of wine
Hopefully by now in the midst of the summer, we have all been able to enjoy at least one barbecue or picnic. But if you haven’t yet embraced the sun and taken the opportunity to head outdoors, we have put together a brief guide for you; take your kitchen outdoors this summer!
It quickly becomes the norm to eat your meals outside when you go on holiday, as the majority of tavernas and restaurants offer outdoor seating for you to soak up the sun and scenery whilst enjoying their cuisine. Yet then when we head back to Britain we have a tendency to revert back to our usual routines and retake our seats at the kitchen/dining table indoors. Well we challenge you to break this habit and carry on your holidays enjoying the British sun while you can!
There are numerous factors that need to be taken into consideration to ensure that everything runs smoothly:
The Weather – We are no strangers to the great British weathers unpredictable nature which is why it should come as no surprise that your plans may sometimes be rained off. We appreciate that it’s not very tempting to take to your garden when the heavens open; after all, no one wants to eat a soggy dinner! Plan your dinner party according to the weather forecast as best you can but always make sure you have an umbrella or anorak packed with you just in case.
Garden Furniture – Garden furniture is neither cheap nor practical for all households i.e. those lacking a garden or storage space for the winter. You can certainly get by without garden furniture – most parks have benches to sit on and many have picnic tables to eat at. It’s always a good idea to have a couple of picnic rugs so you always have the option of lying/sitting on the rug. Fold out tables and compactable chairs can be brought for a reasonable price in the shops if you’re not a fan of the floor or benches.
No Garden – Many of us don’t have the luxury of a garden and others aren’t particularly gifted with a talent for gardening, resulting in overgrown miniature jungles located where gardens once were. Expand your radius and venture to new pastures to enjoy a change of scenery! Pack up your picnic and other essentials and head over to an idyllic area to set up camp, whether that may be a park, a beach or even just a town bench.
Temperature – Although it may look sunny when you head out, don’t be deceived by the warm glow of the sun. If you are likely to be outside for a while, chances are that the temperature will change and there will be a chill in the air. You don’t want to have to pack up early because you forgot a jumper; make sure you take some warm clothes or throws to cosy up in when the time comes.
Food Transportation – There are plenty of picnic baskets and backpacks to choose from in the shops but there is no need to spend a fortune on picnic gear. You can recycle carrier bags to transport your dining kit but if you are planning on transporting refrigerated food you will need to invest in a cool bag to ensure it stays fresh and edible.
Little Critters – Insect deterrents are about to become your new best friend! It can become extremely frustrating if you are persistently disturbed by insects during your meal. To avoid this problem you have two choices: either invest in some shop bought repellents i.e. citronella candles, or make use of natural repellents such as Lavender; either take a sprig with you to lay on the table or set-up near a lavender plant if possible. Also, remember to cover the food if you are away from the table to avoid insects landing on your spread.
Generally when dining outdoors cold foods are easier to manage and transport. However this doesn’t mean your menu should be limited as there are plenty of options when it comes to what you can serve!
Firstly you need to decide which meal you are going to head outdoors for and what kind of style the meal will be i.e. formal or informal. If you are planning on cooking outdoors you have two options: the barbecue or the trusty campers stove. If you decide to go down this route make sure you remember to pack all the essential tools: spatulas, cleaning products, matches etc. And don’t forget that raw and cooked meat should never come into contact!
When most people think of picnics and barbecues, lunchtime and dinner probably come to mind as the obvious choices. Try something new and enjoy your breakfast outdoors – this guarantees to get your day off to a great start (that’s if it’s not raining)!
We hope this article has tempted you to dine outdoors – remember it doesn’t need to be a big affair; even if it’s just taking your packed lunch to the park at least it gives you a break from your normal routine. Breathe in fresh air whilst you enjoy your favourite foods in your favourite places.