Pinning your hopes for an outdoors brunch may be a risqué proposition in London. So why not bring plenty of outdoors in for a guaranteed brunch that will impress your guests by following 5 little tips!
TIP # 1: Dietary requirements
With an increase in food intolerance, allergies and special diets, it is important to enquire about your guests' dietary requirements when hosting. Have a list of heathy recipes that are gluten free, vegetarian and even raw! For those who love meat, including a dish of white or red meat will be also appreciated!
Recently I prepared a dish of raw food for the first time - kale salad with a seasoning of tahini, miso and yuzu. Even the hard core meat eaters loved it! I guess when it is healthy and tasty, everyone enjoys. If you are interested in the recipe, leave me a message.
For our event, Suzanne Cullen of Gustatus Catering prepared butternut squash salad, Camargue rice salad with feta and pomegranate, succulent chicken with mushroom and pine nuts, delicious citrus dressing for the green salad, Thai fishcakes with edible flowers. Suzanne's little cheese+peach amuse-bouche were heavenly before guests sat down for brunch!
TIP # 2: Use herbs for freshness
Use plenty of fresh herbs to decorate your kitchen, the table and the food. The freshness injects life to general decor and to the cooked food.
TIP # 3: Flowers for sparkle and colour
We were supplied with a wide range of beautiful flowers for this occasion. The floral arrangements were in harmony with our outdoors-in mood - a mix of astilbes, viburnum, sweet peas, stock, all delicately scented.
If the decor calls for a relaxed setting (brunches are usually relaxed), try small seasonal flowers. Cut them short and spread them in glasses or small containers. Choose containers with not too large openings. You can cover your glasses by wrapping with 2-3 turns of raffia or insert your glasses into small terracotta pots. For a table of 6-8 sittings, you could have 3 or 5 of these little containers. Two small bunches of different flowers should be plenty to go around.
For a more formal feel, such as dinners, try fuller floral arrangements.
Tip # 4: Balance 'focus' and 'support' in table setting
For this event, the main focus of the table was the food in a setting closely resembling outdoors. To help support this, I introduced a mat of moss to mimic grass on the table. Against this green background, the many colours of the food just popped, creating an instant visual impact.
Remember to add some height to the table setting, a selection of soft colour candles were added on single candle holders. To complement these, a collection of smaller brass candle holders were spread around the table for colour and interest.
Tip # 5: Colourful dessert to finish!
Desserts don't have to be complicated, but having a visually appetising dessert to finish the brunch is always a winner. For the simplest of desserts, try making a fruit salad - get berries of different colours (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries), mangoes if they are in season (the orange yellow colour of the flesh will pull all the other colours together), pieces of kiwi if you would like a bit of green. Sprinkle some pomegranate if you can find them.
For our event, Suzanne prepared 2 desserts - an orange drizzle cake and a lemon tart. Both delicious and beautifully presented as the contrast of the cakes against the green background was striking and harmonious at the same time!
It was a feast for the eyes and taste!
Specials thanks to:
Photos by Alex Taibel of Alexandra Photography @alexphoto1
Food by Suzanne Cullen of Gustatus Catering & The Vintage Tea Set @thevintageteaset
Flowers by Ivvo Zerou of Ivvo Zerou Floral Design @ivvodesign
Styling by Tule Park of Yellowhouse Design @yellowhousedesignlondon