Being Fancy For Nix

Coq a Vin in the making in a double-sized slow cooker.
(great for making double meals and freezing half)

GOSH it's nice be be all fancy-pants once in a while, but realistically we can't put on that fascade all the time ..... so it's time to rethink.

Green vegetables with almond
flakes, butter and sesame seeds

I was thinking about this the other night as I was laying the table for 21 friends and family that were coming over for dinner.  What to do with not enough matching dinner plates, matching chairs, matching cups and cutlery??......embrace the conundrum and just make it work, that's what.  So this is what we did instead.

Making do with what we have.

We pushed three picnic tables together, laid them with a variety of white table clothes and white bed sheets, overlaid them with some random white curtain and tulle.  We mixed up the plastic garden chairs with our two types of wooden chairs for a shabby chic look and decorated with candles in an odd assortment of glass jars.  The cutlery was purposely mixed up so not one setting matched, the Christmas fairy lights were strung above the table, the gas patio heaters (bought new at 50% off) threw out delicious heat and the glassware in all its mismatched glory sparkled and shone.  If it can't be perfect then let it be a tiny bit Bohemian.

Finished overflowing pot of
Coq a Vin

The food was all cooked from scratch - good nourishing tasty French recipes all served in mismatching pots and vessels.  It is funny how a buffet seems to totally make up for the lack of perfection in other areas.  We are slightly messy cooks but the produce is super fresh and the recipes well know you have it right when guests sneak back for third helpings from the buffet table. That is one of the best feelings in the world.

Boeuf bourguignon ready to put
onto the buffet table

The chatter rises and falls up and down the long tables, the clinking of glasses ring out in happiness  and bread is being used to unapologetically mop up delicious sauces.  Candles flicker, smiles are traded, stories are tall, laughs are real and eyes are shining. Sighs of full stomachs and dismay over not being able to fit in another homemade creme patissiere filled vanity cake are heartfelt. They linger at the table not wanting it to end (or being too full to move).

Sweet caramelised onion and
Camembert tart with parsley

Nobody missed the mismatching table settings - not even the fancy folk. Nobody had to know that whole 'look' did not cost a penny.

Friends and family tucking in with relish.

Take care folks and stay nice.


Potato bake x 2.
A bland looking dish of which
not a sceric was left.


  1. I think the food looks incredible, and what a GREAT setting. I think the fairy lights are utterly charming. What lucky friends and family you have!

  2. It's a big undertaking to cater for 21 people and the food looks delicious. It sounds like everyone had a good time. I think a table with mismatched cutlery, crockery and glassware is far more interesting than everything matching.

    Joan (Wales)

  3. Actually Mr.HM I believe it is quite trendy to have mismatched cutlery and crockery these days as I have seen it a lot on different blogs. That is a lot of people to cater for I must say. It would be a tad chilly to sit outside in our neck of the woods at night time even with patio heaters.

  4. Wonderful. I love cooking for other people--we had friends over just last night. It is encouraging to see someone else do it in a relaxed manner...especially for so many people! Love the outdoor set up and your food looks great.

  5. Having guests help themselves to all of that absolutely delicious food cooked with love, great company and somewhere to sit is all that is needed for a fantastic night. These are the BEST kind of functions to have. No one really cares about matching crockery etc., especially if its outside. Well done!

  6. I was waiting in line at the supermarket and opened up a magazine. In that magazine was a table set up with mix and match everything. Mr HM you and family are trendsetters in your dinner party adventures. Well done.

  7. What a lovely atmosphere to enjoy dining with family & friends! It's wonderful when you can use what you have and it turns out beautiful. The bonus of entertaining at home is that you can visit at a leisurely pace without wait staff tapping their toes because they need to turn their tables! Looks like you did a great job making your guests feel special!

  8. No body who matters notices the decor ;)

  9. As much as I love everything matching, I can see how your " new " style worked.

  10. I like eclectic and different, which is why I married my husband. ;) Seriously though, well done. :)

  11. It all sounds very nice, and you know it's about the companionship anyway, the good food, the conversation and conviviality. :)


Post a comment