Carole Bamford's complete guide to hosting a summer soirée

Carole Bamford 
Founder of Daylesford 
Organic
Look to nature for decorating inspiration and serve a summer salad as part of your spread Credit: Keiko Oikawa

I can’t think of a better way to spend a summer’s evening than surrounded by my family and friends – and my dogs. I often have lunch parties and I love it when the day rolls into night and my guests stay to watch the sunset. Lanterns will be lit, and we’ll wrap up in blankets if it gets chilly, or dance to stay warm… 

  1. I’m always inspired by my surroundings and use the flowers, foliage and colours of the season to dress the table and set the scene. I love mismatched old vases and glasses filled with English roses. My favourite tablecloth is a hand-blocked print one from India and I like pairing it with different-coloured glasses.
  2. Putting a drink in somebody’s hand is a good icebreaker – a pink sparkling wine, a summer-fruit cup, or prosecco with berries. Serve boards of English radishes with butter and sea salt, and crudités with dips for people to nibble on.
  3. Summer eating should be simple. Pass around sharing plates, such as vitello tonnato, English crab, a rocket, burrata and tomato salad, and wild salmon with tabbouleh. I often serve cheese, and for pudding, lots of fresh summer berries and cream.
  4. Adjust the music to your guests and to the mood. An Ibiza mix if there are young people, otherwise lazy summer music – Matt Monro’s On Days Like These. Into the evening I put on slow ballads, and if people want to dance, ’60s music or rock.
  5. It sometimes pays to organise something simple but unexpected. I once hosted a party where everyone sat on hay bales to eat lunch. That was a lively talking point. 

daylesford.com

Summer tabbouleh

This works well alongside other salads and 
with cold meats
 or fish Credit: Keiko Oikawa

SERVES

4-6

INGREDIENTS

For the garlic oil

  • 4 garlic cloves, halved lengthways
  • 60ml sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

For the tabbouleh

  • 150g bulgar wheat
  • 150g tricolour quinoa
  • 2 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
  • 25g kale, tough stems removed and leaves chopped
  • 5 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 3 tbsp chopped mint
  • Juice of 1 lemon

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas mark 3. 
  2. Place the halved garlic cloves in an ovenproof dish, pour over the sunflower oil and cover the dish with foil. Cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the garlic is soft.
  3. Sieve the garlic and the oil into a bowl, pushing the garlic through with a wooden spoon.
  4. Whisk the oil vigorously, gradually adding the mustard and lemon juice.
  5. Put the bulgar wheat and quinoa into a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain the grains and leave to cool before putting into a serving bowl.
  6. Add the tomatoes, raw kale, herbs  and lemon juice, then fold  through the garlic oil. 
  7. Season to taste before serving.

Recipe from Nurture by Carole Bamford (Square Peg, £35)

Sign up for Stella Daily - your seven-day slice of fashion, beauty, food, travel, interiors and more from the Stella magazine team