With lockdown easing, dinner garden parties with a small group of friends is now a possibility. After months of confinement, isolation, working from home, and cooking for yourself, the idea of a dinner party is a heady excitement, but also might feel a little overwhelming! Like with everything we’ve learnt during lockdown, taking things slowly is best – plan a late afternoon that slides into dinner event, slowly adjusting to new ways of living elevates the pressure to get everything right.
Like all things, keeping things simple and well organised is how you can also relax and enjoy the socialising with loved ones.
It’s all in the detail
It may sound a little silly but taking stock of your bottle openers and ice trays is an important detail to keep things smooth. After only having to make sure you have enough for you and your family it can take a bit of time to adjust to a wider group of people. Having a few bottle openers available dotted around also limits interaction, and you definitely don’t want to be running out of ice for those cocktails!
The secret of space
You don’t need a lot of space, but if you organise your space well, then the rules around social distancing can be easily incorporated into your dinner party.
Setting up a buffet table means people can help themselves and you can top up the dishes in a seamless flow! A number of Simple Food dishes work well for buffets. Our suggestions would be - Toasted Brussels Sprouts with Spiced Hazelnuts, Charred Tahini Broccoli, Roasted Cauliflower with Turmeric, and Pearl Barley with Carrots and Almond Shavings, Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Organic Tofu Teriyaki.
If there are kids at the dinner party, it might also be a good idea to have a designated space and table for them – you could even include their own buffet table, to make it feel special!
Packing a punch!
Now that you’ve worked how to logistics the fun part – cocktails! A punch bowl is a wonderful way to start a party, you can adjust the levels of alcohol to suit your mood and for the warming weather there are an abundant of fruits that can be added in. This also works perfectly for a buffet table; your guests can help themselves to this aperitif as you finish the last little bits of cooking.
Our Simple Punch Bowl Recipe
Juice of a whole lemon
250ml vodka or white rum
500ml of juice (apple or pineapple)
125ml sparking water (or Prosecco!)
Handfuls of mint and basil
Slices of lemon, lime and orange
Lots of ice!
Make sure you dissolve the sugar in the lemon juice first, then put everything in a large bowl, with a ladle and you’re ready to serve! Here are some fun, compostable eco-cups that you can serve them in, for that summer vibe.
Creative and colourful
As well as delicious food and drink, a great party always looks fantastic too. Even if you can’t have a fully laid table, with beautiful place settings, keeping the party simple that doesn’t mean that things need to be boring there are lots of ways to have fun with decorations.
Bright coloured material can be wonderful tablecloths, or even as picnic blankets – why not set up the garden with various picnic spots. Create little picnic arrangements, spread out a blanket or square of material with an ice bucket, a bottle opener, a set of plates and tumbler glasses for wine. Lounging and relaxing for all, a must!
To keep the clean-up simple there are a number of sustainable disposable plates, such as these colourful ones from John Lewis and various simple options from Pretty Little Party Shop, which can add to the fun of the evening.
At Simple Foods we really believe in keeping things simple, fun, and relaxed! Food, family and friends should be the focus for everything.