Alfresco Dining

After a long winter of eating soups and stews in front of the fire place, we could not wait to lay a table for dinner in the garden.

We chose a spot under the blooming Wisteria and laid the table with one of my favorite table clothes bought at Babylonstoren, crockery hand made by Minda and cutlery all the way from France. I put beautiful orange Tulips from Woolworths in tiny Italian fruit juice glass bottles. Candles in antique glass holders added the romantic touch.

We try to keep our aperitif small to not spoil our appetite for the main course. Marinated brinjal, hummus and parmesan cheese were enjoyed with wine on the lawn.

Aperitif

For main course my husband Chris cooked succulent lamb chops, marinated in fresh herbs, on the barbecue. I made a 3 bean salad and a green salad as accompaniments.

Three bean salad.
Ingredients:
1 tin Cannellini beans
1 tin Red Kidney beans
small packet green beans blanched for 3 minutes and then refreshed under cold water
kernels from 1 cooked cob of corn
12 cherry tomatoes halved
1 red onion chopped
handful chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
small handful chopped fresh mint

Dressing:
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic minced
1 small deseeded red chilli (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Method:
Mix all the ingredients in a pretty bowl and let it marinate with the dressing, for at least an hour before serving, in the fridge. Serve at room temperature.

Three Bean Salad

Dessert was my mom’s old fashioned meringue cake topped with cream, fresh raspberries and passion fruit. My mom has been making this cake since I can remember. Here is her recipe.

Old fashioned Meringue Cake
Ingredients:
125 g butter
125g sugar
125g flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
½ cup milk
3 eggs divided
¾ cup caster sugar

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/gas mark 4. Line 2 baking tins with baking paper and crease with extra butter.
Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
Beat in the egg yolks, one by one.
Beat in the vanilla essence.
Add half of the dry ingredients with half of the milk with a large metal spoon. Repeat with the remaining halves.
Divide the mixture between the tins and smooth the tops.
Beat the 3 egg whites in a clean bowl until fluffy.
Add the caster sugar and beat until glossy (not too stiff because then it will be dry).
Divide the egg white mixture on top of the cake batter.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center, comes out clean.
Leave in the pans to cool before turning the cakes out on to a wire rack.
When completely cooled, top with whipped cream, sweetened with a little caster sugar and vanilla essence.
Top with fresh raspberries or strawberries.

Meringue Cake

Let me know what is on your menu for your next alfresco lunch or dinner and check out my Romancing the Home friend’s posts as well!

Ramona at Ruffles and Rust

Stacy at Sawdust and High Heels

Talia at My_Shabby_Shack