There’s no denying that the current situation is making us all spend more time in the kitchen that we’re probably used to. And whilst some people seem to be revelling in this – baking the likes of banana bread, Biscoff bakes and making batches of soup – some of us missing the delightfulness of dining out.
But after weeks of missing my favourite foodie spots, I’ve come up with a solution: I’ve started to bring the dining ‘out’ experience ‘in’. Instead of making my normal go-to dishes and eating it on my sofa, every now and then, I make a real occasion out of my tea. I lay out a nice setting on my dining table, get a bit more creative in the kitchen and make my meal a bit more memorable.
And to (hopefully) inspire you to do the same, I’ve actually pulled together some of my favourite table décor picks below – all of which can be mixed and matched together. So why don’t you join me in buying a new piece of crockery for the occasion? You could put together a table setting for a loved one’s birthday in lockdown, a virtual date or even as a special weekend treat.
What’s more, I’ve also pulled some top tips for dining in – all of which are all tried and tested by me.
Firstly, I want you to light that really boujee candle you’ve been saving for a special occasion. Listen, we’re in lockdown. Make today your special occasion.
Next, get yourself out of those dreaded pyjamas or loungewear. Tonight, you are going to get dressed up for your dining in experience so put on something that makes you feel good. Possibly even something you’ve not worn since lockdown began.
Then to reward yourself for coming this far, you’re going to pour yourself a drink in your fanciest glassware. It doesn’t have to be alcoholic but just generally a drink that makes you think, ‘aaaah’ at the first sip.
Now to set the dining in scene perfectly, I want you to listen to a chill playlist or something that instantly boosts your mood on Spotify. If you’re into chilled music which is a bit tropical and deep house, then I would recommend this playlist. Or if you’re into something more uplifting but tasteful, this Feel Good Dinner playlist is a corker.
And finally – the food part. Instead of shovelling pasta straight from the pan to fork to mouth, I want you take your time in kitchen and cook up some feel-good food. Why not pick a recipe you’ve always wanted to try? Or cook your favourite home comfort dish? Or if you’re feeling super fancy, why not try and replicate the dish from a restaurant you’re really missing? Personally, I’m really missing Wagamama’s ramen so plan on making that in my next ‘dining in’ experience.
Whilst your food is cooking and can be left by itself, I want you to spend some time putting together a nice set-up at your table. Yes, I said table and not coffee table opposite the TV (unless this is your only option of course). Feel free to use the products I’ve highlighted above, or you could delve into the deep corners of your cupboards and find the dinnerware pieces you’ve picked up over the years. As long as it’s more of a set-up than usual, then you’re onto a winner!
Once your food is ready, savour the moment at your beautifully set up table. Hey, you could even treat yourself to a fancy dessert for good measure.