Birthday girl Trish Deseine is entertaining, her way
Main Image; Photography Franck Schmitt; From Chez Moi! At Home with Trish and Neff July Menu. Summer Celebrations: Try Trish Deseine’s July Menu
I’m sorry if you are not a Leo, we can’t all be. I have met and am friends with so many fellow Leos, I’m obliged (and love!) to believe there is something in astrology’s decidedly dodgy pigeon-holing. In true Leo style, I believe that the idea of having common character traits with a twelfth of the world’s population is most credible come July and August. Something to do with light and warmth leading to more relaxed parenting? Does it matter? Even if it’s winter for an entire hemisphere, and the animal I’m identifying with is, in fact, a male lion, this is when I shake my figurative mane and roar with confidence and joy.
In the kitchen this summer, there’s a lot to be gained from adopting an entitled Leo attitude no matter when your birthday falls. Take control, and no nonsense. Own your hard-earned matriarchal power, dare to be magnificently lazy, bask in that sun, gather your chosen friends and family proudly, and have no qualms about laying down the law to the rest of your pride.
Here’s my Leo guide to glorious summer entertaining:
1. You are the boss and every day for the next two months is your birthday. It’s time to call in the favours a year of shouldering your family’s mental load has earned you. Take the luck out of pot luck and delegate with purpose. You are providing a beautiful tablescape, ice, drinks, comfortable seating, and a blazing barbecue for heaven’s sake! It’s only natural to order most of your party menu from your guests. Stamp out even a whiff of weakness or dissent, and if they are honestly still at a loss, send a recipe and shopping list like a true leader.
2. You are the monarch and looking great is your duty. The day of the party is a time for rest and pampering. All cooking, hoisting, washing and ironing is simply not your problem. You have enough to do, what with all that mane to tame and sunshine to soak in. The same goes for the prestige of the tableware. Banish all paper and cardboard and bring out the silverware, china and crystal. It’s expected of royalty and makes everything taste better.
3. Celebrate the joy of colour. A gorgeous, well-spiked and chilled champagne and fruit punch saves a lot of labour and will look amazing in modern or vintage crystal. In high summer, eating the rainbow is easy, and simply arranging an abundant, natural display of brightly coloured summer fruit and vegetables around good charcuterie, cheese, bread, pickles and preserves, allows you to cook less and lounge more.
There’s a lot to be gained from adopting an entitled Leo attitude no matter when your birthday falls.
4. Protect your pride. Use this summer to finally cull any toxic friends or family members from festivities. Life is simply too short to entertain those snippy, sullen folk who are always happy to eat and drink you out of house and home, complain about wasps and house prices and never say thank you.
5. You eat, you drink, you rest. Enjoy the party, let your golden glory shine, and ensure you eat at the same time as your guests by aiming for a maximum amount of made-ahead dishes. This means setting aside at least two or three gentle prep days and a good deal of fridge space. Chilled soups are always an excellent idea, refreshing and filling (up to a point) they are colourful and easy to pack with interesting flavours. Store in bottles in the fridge door, to take up less space and remember pretty glass decanter type bottles will also look great on the table where guests can help themselves. Always task others with the drinks pouring and barbecue manning so you can make the most of the fun and the admiration. And when you’ve had your fill, let ’em at it. Find the best, quiet and/or shady spot and take a nap. Remember, this is your time. And for the next two balmy, delicious months, it’s not rude, it’s regal. @trishdeseineencore @TrishDeseine