Fresh flowers filtered through any house or garden table can bring instant happiness to anyone who looks upon them. As The Daily Meal celebrates our love for the humble barbecue, we have sought Clodagh McKenna's advice when it comes to setting a beautiful table, choosing the right flowers, and creating an elegant atmosphere for a perfect alfresco party.
Even if it is a dull day in Dublin, I can open my sitting room door to be wowed by a splash of sunshine in a vase. My newly opened tulips are so vibrant, so impossibly pretty that I can’t help but feel happy. Now, those tulips only cost a few pounds; that’s a disproportionate amount of pleasure for so little cost. Freshly cut flowers are like the smell of fresh coffee or baking bread. They turn the house into a home. They are also a great way to express yourself, so be creative and use whatever you have around you.
Any watertight container works as a vase. I use mismatched containers such as medicine jars or old milk jugs with my vases, but use one type of flower throughout the house. It makes more of a statement. Also, if you’re given a large bunch of one type of flowers, break them up and display them in a row rather than plonking them all in one vase. It has more impact, particularly with large blooms like chrysanthemums.
I also have a ribbon drawer where I save ties and bows from presents or chocolates. I tie them around vases for an extra dash of color or to add a touch of zing to the display. A final word: buy flowers when they are in season. It’s when they’re at their most beautiful and gives us something new to look forward to as the seasons change.
One of the best things about barbecue is the social aspect. Family and friends enjoying food and a drink, kids tumbling around, and everyone contributing something to the meal. However, I think it can be easy to forget about decoration and for me, the extra thought adds something really special. Here are a few of my tips when it comes to throwing a beautiful alfresco party. I think the most elegant tables are often the simplest!
The Daily Digest is a new online publication, which aims to take foodies on journey. Established by Irish chef Clodagh McKenna in 2013, The Daily Digest celebrates producers and restaurateurs who excite us with their passion for good food.