Nutritional therapist, bestselling author – and one of our new brand ambassadors – Amelia Freer is renowned for her easy, delicious recipes, making healthy eating a welcome habit, rather than a short-term fad. With a host of A-list clients, including Victoria Beckham and Sam Smith, her latest book, Nourish & Glow: The 10 Day Plan, is a fantastic starting point to a healthier and happier food relationship. For the chance to win a signed copy of Amelia’s comprehensive plan, which contains over 50 gluten, dairy and refined-sugar free recipes (with vegetarian and vegan alternatives), simply enter our competition below.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for some Summer dinner-party inspiration, discover how Amelia is planning to make feasting over the coming months taste (and feel) extra-special.
Q: What do you love the most about Summer dining?
A: So many flavourful and nutrient-dense foods come into season around Summertime, so creating simple, tasty dishes becomes easy. Throw a handful of salad leaves, some perfectly ripe tomatoes, torn herbs and a drizzle of tangy olive oil into a bowl and you have vegetable perfection in under a minute.
Q: What’s your favourite ingredient of the season?
A: I just adore fresh Summer berries, simply rinsed and tossed into a bowl.
Q: What are your five top tips to make hosting a Summer party feel effortless?
- There’s no need for perfection
Most people are simply grateful they haven’t got to do the cooking and washing-up, so a little imperfection will go completely unnoticed – or just adds to the charm.
- Embrace sharing
I can’t remember the last time I tried to do a fancy, plated dinner for my friends. Big bowls and sharing platters make life much easier as a host, and they help to break the ice between people who might not know each other, as well.
- Prepare and cook before the event
Making a few dishes ahead of time that can be served cold means you aren’t stuck in the kitchen when your guests arrive. I always have a cold pudding as it means I can sit down and enjoy my main course in a relaxed fashion, which is important for good digestion!
- Delegate responsibility for drinks to someone else.
Choose a partner, friend, relative – or whoever happens to be standing nearest to the fridge. This means you’ve got one less thing to think about and most people like to feel vaguely useful at a party, anyway.
- Consider any little ones
It’s worth a bit of effort to set up a few safe outdoor activities the children can engage in, while the parents are mingling and relaxing. It doesn’t take much, but your guests (both big and small) will really appreciate it.
Q: How do you make an alfresco-dining experience feel extra-special?
A: Sometimes, I really enjoy going the extra mile with a table setting. I find it can be quite a relaxing creative outlet to pull together my favourite candles, table linen and crockery – alongside a few vases of garden flowers – and create an extra-special tablescape.
Q: When hosting a dinner party, how can catering for people with different dietary requirements be made easier?
A: Honestly, I make as much as possible to suit everyone. It’s not that hard as vegetables, seeds, olive oil, beans and avocados are all naturally free-from, so the vegetables and side dishes will all be gluten-free and often vegan. Then, I’ll usually choose some sort of meat or fish to share, served with big bowls of homemade hummus and potatoes (or sweet potatoes), which are fantastically filling and most people are okay with.
Q: The sun comes out and you decide to go for a spontaneous picnic, what are the key things you have to pack?
A: I love a picnic – there is nothing quite so quintessentially Summertime. I throw a few plates, mugs and bowls into a beautiful wicker picnic basket, add some cutlery, a huge picnic blanket and a bottle or two of sparkling water and wine. I then choose mostly finger foods; olives, crudités, dips, leftover cold meats, crunchy salad leaves, plus something a little special for afterwards – perhaps a big punnet of cherries and a bar of rich dark chocolate.
Q: What will be your go-to menu to impress guests this Summer?
A: This is an example of the sort of relaxed dinner I like to serve my guests…
A sharing platter of brightly coloured seasonal-vegetable crudités, served with a couple of homemade dips, such as my beetroot hummus, or smoked-mackerel paté.*
An organic green salad, garnished with a handful of edible flowers and a simple vinaigarette of apple-cider vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil and a dash of mustard.
A plate of cold, roasted Summer vegetables, drizzled in olive oil and torn basil.
A cold new-potato salad, dressed in organic mayonnaise and lots of chopped herbs.
A few ramekins of vegetarian walnut lentil paté.*
Cold roasted chicken with homemade pesto sauce.*
Little chocolate chia pots, served with a big bowl of berries.*
* Find these recipes in Nourish & Glow: The 10 Day Plan
DON’T FORGET TO ENTER OUR COMPETITION:
In celebration of the season ahead, we’ve teamed up with Amelia Freer to give away ten signed copies of her new cook book, Nourish & Glow: The 10 Day Plan. To be in with a chance of winning, simply enter your details below.**
**Competition closes 23:59 Monday 24th April and is open to UK residents only. For full Terms & Conditions, click here.