Alfresco Dining, Cali Style

With warm weather on the horizon, alfresco dining is finally a possibility with blissful evenings spent barbecuing, whilst socialising with friends and family in the great outdoors. If this sounds familiar, but you’ve got niggling worries about hosting the perfect sunshine soirée, read on as we’ve created the ultimate crowd-pleasing outdoor feast (with minimal effort required!) So why not lay the table, light the barbecue, and inject some California sunshine into this three-course spread.

To Start: Goats’ Cheese, Cherry & Walnut Toast

Get your gremolata on and upgrade guests’ starters with the tang of goats’ cheese, sweetness of cherries, and the smooth creaminess of California walnuts. Ready in a flash, these colourful and crunchy toasts are simple to prepare and suitable for veggies too. Serve on a rustic board outside, so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more with your guests!  Alternatively, make your neighbours green with envy with delicious bowls of chilled California Walnut & Cucumber Sunshine Soup.

Main: Pomegranate-Glazed Chicken with Walnut Couscous

Move over burgers and hot dogs – this Sticky Pomegranate and Sumac-Glazed Chicken with Nutty Couscous is guaranteed to be a hit at any barbecue. For a cross-continental twist, Souk Spiced Aubergines with Walnuts and Pomegranate are perfect as a side to share, or as a veggie main.

Dessert: Flourless Walnut Cake with Poached Pears

The best way to finish a feast and delight your friends? Two words – walnut cake. This homely and wholesome dessert is easy to make and deliciously moist, with sweet poached pears and crème fraiche for the ultimate finish. If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, a generous slice is the perfect accompaniment to a morning coffee.

To perfect your outdoor dining experience, try the following:

Think big, bright and beautiful – Simple but effective, a bouquet of bright, seasonal flowers won’t go unnoticed by guests. Try dahlias or sunflowers for an Instagram-friendly table decoration.

Rustic is in – When it comes to place settings, BBQs are not formal. Serve your Californian-inspired creations on rustic chopping boards which not only look great, but are ideal for sharing too.

Light up the night – For a memorable night under the stars, light plenty of candles and lanterns to create a cosy outdoor atmosphere when the sun goes down. For a touch of romance, string up some eye-catching fairy lights from nearby trees.

Don’t let it rain on your parade – It goes without saying, but always check the weather before organising an alfresco extravaganza to make sure your efforts don’t go to waste – sunshine and good food really are a match made in heaven!