This year the girls are are opening up the challenge, making its focus not purely on photography but making it a little more varied, a little more open and interesting.
Last week’s challenge was Special Treats but I’m still waiting for this week’s. It’s 14:00 (CET) and there’s no sign of it. So I’m going to do a narrative to accompany last week’s post. After all the girls did say that you could do more than one post on the topic.
In France restaurants have been closed since October and while some restaurants are doing take-out, most are resolutely closed.This means I’ve had to make eating at home, just the two of us, even more special! Just because we’re stuck at home doesn’t mean we can’t dine well. Just because we can’t go out to our favourite restaurants, doesn’t mean we’ve been reduced to eating sad frozen dinners on the sofa, in front of the television.
On the contrary, I’ve taken this time to further develop my cooking skills, decorate my various dining areas and make meals a part of the day we both look forward to. Here’s how I do it.
Break out the best dishes
Now is the time to dust off everything you save for “best” including linen napkins, silver serving dishes and cut glass crystal. The simplest of meals or appetisers can be presented in a way that is special and avoids the mundane. Mirror the experience of fine dining or whatever style you most enjoy.
At the weekends, in particular, Itry to make each meal an ocasion starting with an apéro on Friday evening. We have, on occasion, even dressed up for the event. Over the weekend, I’ll lay the table in the dining room, or on the terrace, with tablecloths, napkins, candles and a mixture of tableware, plus flowers.
Adjust the lighting
We have a beautiful chandelier in the dining room ( reflected in the window) which I often feel makes it overly bright. In the evening, I’ll sometimes dim the lights and use a variety of candles dotted around the room. (Obviously, this is a pre-Covid photograph!)
Change the dining venue
We generally eat at the kitchen table although whenever the weather allows we’ll eat outside. I do enjoy serving meals in our formal dining room or eating a picnic around the coffee table in the lounge. We’re not talking blow-out dinners, sometimes it’s just a beautiful charcuterie or cheese board.
Be more creative about cooking
There’s nothing I enjoy more than the challenge of cooking a meal from what’s leftover in the fridge though, of course, with more limited shopping opportunities, meal planning is much more important. You all know how much I love planning and preparation, plus my beloved hates eating the same thing two nights running.
Actually, it’s often the little things such as infusing your own olive oil with chilies, pepper, or herbs to add flavour, making chutney’s and pickles and upgrading household staples with leftovers from another meal that make the difference. I’m never afraid to experiment.
Host a virtual dinner or cocktail party
These have been great fun. We all cook the same menu though we’ve yet to compare our cooking skills on FaceTime, snd eat at the same time. We generally choose crowd pleasing dishes that everyone enjoys.
What have you been doing to make dining in more fun?
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