Sunday, March 1, 2009

An Indian Summer Picnic

I love eating al fresco, whether it be a picnic or at a restaurant. You just can't beat sitting with family or friends having good conversation, nice food and wine, fresh air, and the sun shining on your face. Recently, I was invited to a traditional English Garden FĂȘte at the home of the Sarasota British Club's new President, Sue Ford.

It was such a lovely day and brought back so many happy memories of our favorite English summer pastime: Summer Proms. Each summer, at venues across the country, they have a series of out door classical concerts. The themes range from Music from the Movies to the classics that feature on the Last Night of the Proms. The tradition goes that you bring your own table, chairs, plonk, and a meal fit for royalty. I could go on and on about menus from Proms past, but the most memorable for me was one June when we were celebrating James's birthday. We had been out picking raspberries earlier in the day and I made a two layered chocolate cake with chocolate icing. I had covered the top of the bottom layer in raspberries, then once the top layer was iced, dotted fresh raspberries for color. After the 20 minute downpour that usually makes a brief appearance, we had a lovely time. For Sue's Garden FĂȘte, I wanted to create a menu that was fit for the Proms. As Indian food is so popular in the UK, we ended up with Tandoori Chicken, Curried Couscous, and Salad with a Red Pepper Curry Vinaigrette. It was sublime and took me back to an English summer.

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