An Invitation to the Garden by Michael Devine, Rizzoli New York, 2014
Recently released by Rizzoli Publishing, An Invitation to the Garden is 192 pages of beautiful and easy to execute outdoor dining ideas. I liked so many things about this book from the gorgeous decorating ideas to the simple meal plans, and especially the stunning full page, color photographs.
Author Michael Devine has an internationally recognized line of hand-printed fabrics and his textiles and gardens have been featured in many print and online magazines. Who better than Mr. Devine to share the thrill of outdoor dining? If you're intimidated by the thought of throwing an outdoors party, then this book will help you to conquer your fears. And if you're an accomplished party thrower, I think you'll still find features of this book that you can incorporate into your next social gathering. This book has been released just in time for your spring and summer gatherings!
An Invitation to the Garden starts off with a chapter where lilac is the star, front and center. Michael introduces us to his garden prize - the bagatelle - which is a refurbished garden shed where he likes to entertain. He stapled a pagoda fabric from his own collection to the walls and utilized lilac centerpieces. He then coupled lilac with an Asian theme of porcelain monkeys and used dinnerware that featured monkeys and pagodas. For a finishing touch he poured lilac infused water. Doesn't that all sound heavenly? Breathe deep because the scent of lilac is drifting in the air.
Also included are menu's tailored to each party with accompanying recipes. Some prime examples are the salmon tart, lemon soda, chilled vegetables, savory mini muffins, gooseberry sauce, sea salt chocolate honey caramels, mushroom soup, and scrambled eggs with rose petals. My personal favorite meal was the one presented in the chapter called Early Autumn Dinner. How delicious does this sound....
- tomato soup
- puree of turnips, carrots and potatoes
- roasted rosemary chicken au Jus
- pumpkin cake roll
Scattered throughout the book are TIP boxes with wonderful garden and entertainment ideas such as
- warmed hand towels heated with sage
- dry rose petals for home made potpourri
- ice cubes frozen with bachelor's buttons
- grow potatoes in your garden by staking them
- use fireplace ashes as repellant for slugs and snails
- create topiaries using fresh vegetables
- fill black garbage bags with leaves in the fall to create compost
An Invitation to the Garden makes outdoor entertaining a breeze and beautifully showcases colorful tablescapes and centerpieces, no fuss starters and easy to serve drink ideas. It features settings and meals for a wide variety of occasions such as breakfasts, luncheons, drink parties, alfresco evening dinners and holidays. You will learn some of the magic of incorporating fresh flowers, herbs and even butterflies into your decorating themes and how to create centerpieces in winter when garden blooms are sparse or non-existent. Find out how to sprinkle your table with gorgeous color and textures. It's possible to entertain with flair and yet keep your budget in check by utilizing affordable options like EBAY tables, Ikea chairs and slip covers made from linens. The possibilities are easier than you'd think as the author shows how to take items from your garden to create a feast for the eyes as well as the palette. It also introduced me to the delight of a bagatelle. Well organized and inspiring, this book makes me want to attempt an outdoors party soon. An Invitation to the Garden? I accept!
(I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Images are the property of the publisher and cannot be reproduced without consent. Photo's credited to Michael Devine with John Gruen.)