Thursday, 24 August 2017

Enjoying The Last Days Of Summer Whatever The Weather*

When you're a child the days seem to drag, weeks seem like months and summers seem to go on forever. When you're an adult though the weeks and months tend to blur into one, and your life seems to be flying by at a million miles an hour. It hard to believe it, but this weekend is the last bank holiday for most us in the UK, till Christmas. What a scary thought, and with the children going to back school soon, and college and university starting up again, for many of us this weekend probably signifies the unofficial end of summer 2017.

Unusually for the UK, the bank holiday weather forecast doesn't actually look that bad, especially if you live in the south of England, but come on lets be realistic, in this green and pleasant land of ours we're never far away from a shower of rain. Although we've had the odd nice day, by and large this summer has been a bit of a washout. I'm still praying that we're going to get the Indian summer that the newspapers keep promising us, but in the meantime we need to use a bit of that British resolve and make the best of it. So this bank holiday weekend, put your latest DIY project on the back burner, crank up DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince and Summertime, on a waterproof speaker like the Panasonic Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker and enjoy the long weekend, and the last days of summer, whatever the weather.

Unlike most people in the UK I'm not the biggest fan of barbecues but if the weather's decent a bit of al fresco eating is the way to go, so get outside and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts. Get the music blasting, chill down some bottles and cans, and some soft drinks, or maybe even make up some jugs of Pimms or cocktails if you're feeling fancy. and then prepare enough food to feed the 5000.

Pop some potatoes wrapped in foil in the barbecue coals, then make or buy some nice salads, breads and accompaniments, and then fill your barbecue with enough sausages, burgers, chicken, and chops to feed the entire street.

In order to host a good barbecue though don't forget to provide a few vegetarian option for both vegetarians and people who are trying to stave off the meat sweats. As a vegetarian I've been to barbecues before and the only thing that I've been able to eat is the salad - not ideal. Thankfully there are loads of barbecue friendly, veggie options available including steaks, burgers and sausages, just cook them indoors or make a foil parcel on your barbecue to keep them away from those meat juices.

If you want to be a bit fancy though and really impress your guest then why not treat them to a veggie kebab or two. Kebabs always look so impressive but they are so easy to make, stick some things on skewers, add some sort of marinade and then pop them onto the grill. The possibilities are endless but why not try adapting my Lentil, Roasted Vegetable And Halloumi Salad recipe. Serve the lentil and rocket mixture on the side, and pop chunks of pepper, courgette, and halloumi on to some skewers, and then brush with olive oil, lemon zest and thyme leaves and then grill until the cheese has browned slightly, and the veggies are charred - simples and a bit more exciting than a burnt sausage!

Let's be honest though, as I've just said when does the British weather ever cooperate. The weather forecast promised fine weather so you plan for a barbecue or a picnic and then what happens? well the heavens open and all of your plans go out of the window! So what do you do? well like with all things you should have contingency plans, so if it rains, bring that picnic or that barbecue indoors.

Put on some summer themed tunes, and light some candles to set the scene, then if you can, move your furniture to sides of the room, and spread out either a paper table cloth or a picnic blanket on the floor. Get some cushions to sit on and some cozy throws to wrap yourself in, and then bring out some cactus, flamingo, or pineapple themed napkins, straws, glasses and paper plates, and bring out a board game or two, and before you know it you'll have forgotten all about the rain

It goes without saying that whatever your were going to cook outdoors, you can cook inside on the oven or grill, but why not impress your guests and be a little bit more experimental with you indoor picnic fare. Have a little look online at sites like BBC Food and you'll be sure to find lots and lots of summery recipes. to take both your indoor or your outdoor picnic to the next level (I'm loving the sound of the Ploughman's Cheese And Pickle Tart!). At the end of the day who cares if it's raining, with the right setting, music, food, drink and company, does it really matter that summer is nearly over?

Although I'm not planning either a big get together, a picnic or a barbecue this weekend I'm definitely going to have a good time regardless of the weather, and I'm going to take some time out to listen to some good tunes and enjoy some good food. Do you have any big plans for the bank holiday weekend? Let me know in the comments x

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