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May, and then June, and then finally summer. Thoughts are fast runners and the so-called warm season has all the charm of the awakening from hibernation and at the same time that of a Saturday in a village.
Easter Monday is the ready, steady, go to day trips. But the final decision about any movement of dogs, friends, relatives, children and any sport equipment is in the hands of the weather, that at this time of the year is proverbially unstable. Some rain at times during the weekend, weather forecasts say on Tuesday. Sun covered by some clouds, they shyly suggest on Thursday. On Friday it’s cloudy. What should we do? Give it a try? Postpone our plans and remain at home like vampires freaking out at the first beam of light?
A picnic is what we need. The word picnic comes from the French verb piqueniquer, piquer means to pinch and nique means small things. Etymologically speaking, there’s no reference to the open air, so you could invite your friends for a picnic and keep your word by preparing some fingerfood (which is the most precise translation of piquiniquer). But since provocation is a sophisticated art, you can surprise and make everyone happy just turning the picnic into an innovative mix between outdoor conviviality and homemade snack break, and showing off all the style you can express only in your own home.
Try to explain to the children that you are not going to the park anymore; or to your partner who has to give up on the fresh nap he/she has been dreaming for the whole week.
Ok, it’s raining cats and dogs, but your picnic won’t pay the price for it: you just need a throw to spread on the floor, many coloured cushions, a shelter-tent more or less improvised for the children and some comfortable poufs for lazy or not-so-young friends and relatives. Pay a special attention to dishes and cutlery: since you are not on a soft meadow, you’d better use plastic tableware which do not break and offers a more coloured and cheerful range of products.
Also think about the pets: they will love to have you all sitting on the ground, but they’s better know what’s their food and what’s yours. So you can place their food in a well-visible bowl. And finally the games: board games (to play on the floor on this special occasion) or technology games.
You can take advantage of the power supply to use non-stop the kitchen robot and create colourful and fresh juices, smoothies and sorbets to offer to your guests in beautiful pitchers and glasses with a small umbrella.
Pineapple, carrot, ginger and Cayenne pepper smoothie
- 2 cups of pineapple in pieces,
- 2 carrots,
- 2 parsley twigs
- Cayenne pepper to taste
Extract the juice from all the ingredients. Pour the smoothie and add some freshly ground Cayenne pepper.
If it’s too risky to go far from home, or if you just can’t wait to inaugurate that paradise corner just outside the French door of your living room, you can propose a picnic on the terrace instead of the usual veranda barbecue.
Actually you could also organize a barbecue, the main difference is that food and drinks won’t be gathered on one table; you will put food, tableware and beverages on different levels, covering all the surface of the terrace. Create some focal points, following the logic of the buffet: the cocktail corner, the altar of raw vegetables (beloved by the ladies, always on a diet), the portable grill (pride of the master of the house), the small table for sweets and coffee, and so on…
It will take some effort to set up your terrace like a clearing in the park: large vases, suspended plants, outdoor chairs and tables, mimetic tabletops and the unmissable iconic seats for the dehors. The latest trends rewards green, so you should choose ferns, creepers and evergreens, and fill the air with the scent of aromatic plants well arranged in small pots and dedicated shelves.
Many rugs on the floor, not necessarily made of technical fabric but also directly borrowed from the living room: walking barefoot sipping a drink flavoured with the mint you just picked from the plant will be an priceless experience.
- 4 Cl of Cuban white rum
- 3 Cl of lime juice
- 7 leaves of hierba buena or mint
- 2 spoons of refined cane sugar
- Crushed ice Soda
Put two small spoons of white cane sugar and the juice of half lime in a tall tumbler. Mix carefully and then add the mint; crush gently with the pestle. Add ice, rum, and a sprinkle of soda. Garnish with a mint twig and a slice of lime.
There is everything you need: sunny day, animals in perfect shape and the frisbee has been dusted. Let’s move to the garden (if you are so lucky to have one) or let’s go to the park.
Like some real ladies and gentlemen of the 19th century who don’t even know what synthetic materials are, your picnic basket/bag will contain an authentic porcelain set. Let’s play with the creation of a refined contrast with the location, and set up the table like if you were at home. Or even better, use complete tea sets or the whole range of cutlery, from the small fork for the appetizers to the poultry shears. We suggest you to choose aristocratic patterns, like the blue and white of British porcelain.
With a snobbish attitude, refuse using paper tablecloths and napkins, and choose fabric instead, better if natural. All considered, your choice is also the most eco-friendly: you will have to wash everything back home, but you won’t produce much garbage. Also the menu must be consistent with your style: single portions of cold summer soups and coffee directly from the moka pot.
Would you ever set the table without a single flower? Never! At your super posh picnic you will bring vases, flowers, candles and transparencies.
- 1 kg of ripe juicy tomatoes
- ½ white onion
- 1 green pepper
- 1 cucumber
- 1 pinch of ground cumin
- 3 spoons of red wine vinegar
- ½ spoon of salt
- 200 grams of extra virgin oil
- ½ stale bread loaf
Wash the tomatoes and slice them, peel the garlic and cut the onion in 3 or 4 parts. Wash the pepper, slice it and remove the seeds. Peel the cucumber. Soften the bread loaf with water and then squeeze it as much as you can. Blend all the ingredients until you get a creamy mixture. Leave the gazpacho to rest in the fridge for some time.
Charlotte & Marie Findeling
Missoni Home Collection
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Thomas Kaiser - Christian Wassermann
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