What better way to enjoy these delightful balmy summer evenings than an Alfresco Dinner Date with friends and family. Let nature call you outside for a feast to tantalise all of the senses.
We are inspired by good ‘down home’ cooking, a place at the table for mindfulness, a simple outdoor setting surrounded by bush and birds and a delectable selection of seasonal veggies to char grill over a coal fire.
Corn on the cob – grilled in the husks leaving a deliciously smokey flavor – spread with lots of butter
Slow grilled garden harvest – we had courgettes, aubergine, peppers (some slightly charred), mushrooms – lightly basted in olive or sesame oil. Serve with a balsamic reduction for an exotic touch.
Fresh crisp garden greens – spruced up with long lengths of cucumber, olives and avocado – dressed with oil and vinegar
Iced gazpacho soup – see the recipe for something extra special, yet so easy and quick.
Hot buttered bread rolls on the side.
To finish, a gift from the orchard’s abundance –a bowl of stewed plums topped with cream and yogurt to sweeten the meals end and lighten the heart.
Our suggestion is to avoid over complicating things. This dining experience is not about lavish table settings, exotic ingredients or master-chef cooking methods. It is about enjoying wholesome, fresh and seasonal ingredients cooked simply and slowly.
Serving with Mindfulness
A beautiful way to bring mindfulness to the table is to cook and serve each ingredient separately. The pause between each serve creates the opportunity to be present to the natural world around you, to savour the flavour and texture of each ingredient, and to acknowledge each other’s presence.
Take a moment to connect consciously to your conscious breath, look at each other with a gentle smile. If you are eating alone, don’t forget to smile to yourself. Breathing and smiling are so easy to do, and their effects are very powerful in helping us and others to experience ease. When we look at the food in such a moment of peace, the food becomes real and reveals our connection with it and with everything else.
Our suggestions for bringing mindfulness to your Alfresco Dinner Date are:
Give Thanks – take time to express your gratitude in what ever way feels most natural.
Engage all of your senses – as you serve and eat your meal, notice the sounds, colours, smells and textures as well as your mind’s response to them.
Serve in modest proportions – mindful eating allows us to take in the fullness of each mouthful. We are more connected to when our being is satisfied – usually fuller satisfaction with less food.
Eat slowly and savour every mouthful – take moments to put your cutlery down between mouthfuls. Breathe. Chew as an experience of itself i.e. it is not just about getting the food into you. Most importantly… smile.
A recent alfresco dinner date with Mana friends spoke to the many levels of nourishment:
“what was REALLY gorgeous was sitting outside reading poetry, listening to the different bird songs and enjoying the gathering dark along with dinner…”
So avoid over complicating things. The key ingredients in our Alfresco Dinner Date: a cosy outdoor setting, simple food, good friends and a drop of mindfulness. Let the magic be in the moment & savour the fullness of all the elements coming together as one.