6 Ideas for Picture Perfect Outdoor Dining

From the ultimate table settings to re-inventing classic recipes

Words by Tanya Grimson
July 4th, 2018

Nothing quite beats the initial excitement of the sight of summer; longer evenings and more social opportunities await you if the weather doesn’t let you down of course. Living in Ireland means we have to prepare ourselves for the prospect of not having a typical summer but that means as soon as the sun comes out we are a nation most proud of it and will stop at nothing to enjoy the benefits of it, while it lasts.

This means al fresco dining at every chance we get, and with that comes the opportunity to socialise with family, with friends and enjoy the mirth of the outdoors. This can involve an element of pre-planning and making sure you have everything right to ensure you get the very best of this unique seasonal offering, from table settings to summer recipes. Thanks to Pinterest, inspiration is never too far away and we have scrolled through the best on offer to bring you the ultimate outdoor guide on how to do al fresco the right way with simple design tips and classic recipes that should never have been forgotten.

Picnic Time

Recreate a barn effect and utilise your space with rustic elements such as wildflowers and fruit as your centrepieces. Check creates an overall feeling of old-school charm.

Backyard Movie Night

It’s summer, it’s time to get outside and take advantage of your open space as much as possible and that also means thinking outside the box. Yes, of course, we all love a good BBQ but there are so many other ways to entertain your family and friends. Why not set up space out on the grass with lots of missed matched rugs and show a classic movie for all to enjoy? If you have a projector and a blank wall you are good to go, but white sheets work just as well and are even more charming. Add some buffet style fun snacks for the kids and adults, sit back and soak it all up.


Food for Thought

Thanks to Pinterest we have found three outdoor recipes that make for a perfect pairing with Diet Coke, from sticky chicken wings, chargrilled wild fish to the beloved and fondly remembered ‘Brown Cow’. Enjoy!

Courtesy: Pinterest/Jellytoast

Moroccan Fish Skewers with Barramundi

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • 4 Barramundi filets (or similar fish such as halibut or snapper)
  • 1 carrot, large
  • 1/8 tsp Chipotle chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, fresh
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1 red onion, wedges
  • 1 7 oz jar sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 zucchini, small rounds
  • 2 tbsp honey
Baking & Spices
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Nuts & Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
Courtesy: Pinterest/BH&G

Chinese Chicken Wings

Ingredients (serves 12)

  • 12 chicken wings
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 thin slices ginger, fresh
  • 1/4 cup Soy sauce, reduced-sodium
Baking & Spices
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
Oils & Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Diet Coke
Beer, Wine & Liquor
  • 2 tbsp Sherry or dry white wine

(This recipe has been revised using Diet Coke instead of Coca-Cola.)

Original Brown Cow Coca-Cola 1965

Brown Cow

This is the original image of Coca-Cola’s infamous soda float from 1965, better known as the ‘Brown Cow’ due to its colouring. This childhood favourite of mine, unfortunately, got lost among a newer generation but this year we’re advocating for the return of the Brown Cow but using Diet Coke with the same effect. Feel free to add an extra cherry and some whipped cream on top if you are really looking to spoil yourself. If the idea of vanilla ice cream mixed with Diet Coke sounds strange, trust me it’s not; something magic and actually quite scientific happens when the dairy blends with the acid from the soda and the result is not only a mouthful of nostalgia but a mouthful of yummy deliciousness.

Set the Mood

Nothing creates more of an atmospheric and welcoming ambience than muted warm lighting. Creating a romantic environment utilising your own surroundings such as wooden beams, trees and branches is easier than it looks but always impresses. For a simple but stunning warm and elegant effect, wrap yellow round glow bulbs around elevated surfaces and add small paper lanterns for a muted Oriental glow. Or simply raid your Christmas box and look for all the uncoloured fairy lights you can carry and adorn your garden in a ray of light.

*Sponsored by Diet Coke