WELCOME TO MY TABLE: Autumn is the time for leisurely feasts! Just before winter is the moment when things around us are at their fullest. Trees, flowers, and foods are all filled fit to burst with the last of their beauty. It’s as if Mother Nature had been saving it all up for one big finale, to remind us that she’s the real Queen Bee. As the days get crisper, nothing beats a warm, slow-cooked meal that can be shared with family and friends. So, take a cue from nature – slow down and savour the moment. Throw a feast bursting with flavours and settle back into the luxury of comfort.
When you’re choosing a dining table, opt for the most generous size possible. Rectangular tables work particularly well for larger get-togethers – you can always fit someone in at the end. Raw timber finishes give a modern country feel – a perfect match with anything from metal cafe chairs to upholstered seating. Once everyone is seated, harvest-style platters filled with seasonal eats are the way to go.
Autumn is all about slow-cooked deliciousness. It’s worth preparing a casserole the day before so it’s truly tender – this also means you’ll have more time for socialising. Keeping to a single colour often looks best, and oval shapes are easy on the eye.
Present your feast a little differently with a butcher’s block. They are ideal for serving rustic breads, or as a tray for starters of piping hot soup – serve in chunky mugs and arrange on the block.
Reinvent a Classic
Family feasts are about relaxed, easy entertaining. You want people to feel at home, so consider decorative touches that are familiar yet elegant. The striped dish towel is a truly versatile thing. For a simple French-country look, fold into a rectangle and place at each setting. Top with white crockery and chunky glassware, and let the party begin. For impact, add a few vases of flowers to the table.
Setting it up
While it’s really satisfying to set a table beautifully, sometimes casual is the way to go. For a family get-together, it’s fun to stack things on the table. Piles of plates, layers of cotton napkins, and cutlery in unruly groups. Alternatively, stash the cutlery in a beautiful jug or rattan holder so that your guests can simply help themselves.