A Backyard Summer Dinner Party

The summer is the perfect time to plan a party or have your friends over. But being the host doesn’t have to be difficult. The warmer wear is the perfect time to swap those heavy dishes for something lighter and more refreshing. So today, I will be sharing with you a great summer salad recipe from Boulart and a great new win that you MUST try! The best part of the summer is that the those cool summer nights make the perfect ambiance to dine al fresco under the stars. Keep your table decor minimal and let your patio be the backdrop to this lovely evening. For my table arrangement, I opted for plastic wine glasses (instead of my fancy crystal ones), mason jars filled with freshly cut flowers from my garden (with a simple burlap bow tied around it) to decorate the table and tea lights in mason jars to give the backyard a touch of ambiance to get that simple yet rustic look I was going for.

To drink, I decided to shake things up from my go-to sangria or Bajan rum punch recipe with the perfect summer drink the Merlocola. This light and fruity wine is made of 70% rich French merlot wine combine with #0% natural cola flavours derived from the Cola plan, a little water and some natural sugar. I actually first tried this wine with a friend who remarked that he had tasted something similar while travelling through Europe a few years back. Mixing red wine and Coca-cola has been popular in Spain since the 1970’s (and now all over the world) as it brings out the refreshing aromas of cherry, plum and spices like cinnamon for a cool summer drink. But all you have to do is pop open a bottle and serve chilled (or over ice) and you’re all set to start your evening!


Panzanella Salad

*Note: this salad serves 24 people. If you’re planning on having a smaller (or larger!) gathering, adjust the ratios in the recipe accordingly. 


1 Boulart ciabatta baguette or boule, torn into 1inch
4 tbsp really good olive oil salt and pepper to taste
1 pint sweet grape tomatoes halved
1 English cucumber, peeled and cut into thin half moons
1 red pepper, cut into 1 inch diamonds
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup picked basil leaves, torn
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, picked and torn
2 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped
45 anchovies, chopped

For the vinaigrette:
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tbsp redwine vinegar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup good olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large bowl tear the bread into pieces and toss with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toast on a tray in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, or until slightly golden.
2. Meanwhile whisk all the ingredients together in the same bread bowl for the vinaigrette.
3. When the bread comes out of the oven toss into the bowl with the vinaigrette. Let stand for 10-15 minutes.
4. Toss in the vegetables, capers, anchovies and picked herbs. Let stand for another 20 minutes and serve.



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