Most of us are lucky enough to live somewhere with varied seasons, where some months are glorious, and others are pretty unbearable. I can assure you that the U.A.E is no exception! Summers in the Middle East tend to be less than enjoyable, so when the winter comes around I like to take full advantage of the cooler weather – even if it’s just a pre-work cuppa or a sneaky post-work G&T on the balcony!
When I was growing up we used to go to my grandparents house in the summer for humungous family feasts with my cousins. I would help prepare the food, while grandad would take on the challenge of constructing a make-shift table large enough to fit us all around. It would often be at different heights, a little wobbly, with mismatched chairs and stools, but it didn’t matter once we were all around the table chatting and enjoying good grub.
So having my grandparents in the country for almost three weeks has been the perfect excuse to get together as a family and eat outside. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee mid-morning, afternoon tea, or all of the above! It brought back so many glorious memories of british summers. Summer memories which, for some bizarre reason, never seem to feature the more than frequent rainy interludes. In fact, if I really think about it, british summers tend to possess a larger proportion of rain with sunny interludes. Hey ho – I think I’ll stick to my idealistic al fresco imagination of the warm sun on my back, fresh air, fruit-packed Pimms, Wimbledon, strawberries, afternoons in Regents park, magical music festivals, and cool refreshing pints of cider. Yes I think I’ll keep it that way!
Back to my latest al fresco feast! We had prawns with fresh lemon juice as a pre-dinner munch, followed by BBQ steak, lamb kebabs, butternut squash and feta salad, my favourite deep-dish quiche, sticky ribs, and a wild greek salad. And then – as if that wasn’t enough food – my nan had whipped up an Eton Mess which, for those of you who are not aware, is a delicious jumble of fresh whipped cream, crushed up meringue, and fresh strawberry pieces. Gosh, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!
I’ll share recipes for the salads pictured in another post down the line, but for now just want to share these lovely pictures I snapped in the hope that it might inspire or motivate some of you to go outside, enjoy the fresh air, and adopt an al fresco existence before the pesky summer heat creeps up on us. (Or, if you’re reading this from a country with cold winters and pleasant summer weather, give you something to think about and look forward to in a few short months!)
Have a fabulous weekend, amigos.