Al Fresco gourmet dining – Chennai style!

Image Courtesy: IndiBlogger

I have been absent from this blog for few months now and this contest was exactly the kind of motivation I needed to break the silence and get my food blog going again! What can I say? One look at the Kitchens of India website had my cuisinista heart and mind soaring with ideas and excitement at the thought of creating gourmet dishes for my foodie friends and family. I don’t have my own space but if and when I do get a place of my own, this is the kind of party I would host for my close friends and family 🙂 And you can bet your buck I would be cooking for this party with loads of help from Kitchens of India! This post has been published as a part of  the My Gourmet Party contest hosted by Indiblogger and Kitchens of India

Note: The photos in this post are mine unless specified otherwise

I love Al Fresco dining! If you are wondering what an Italian idea has to do with the kind of non-Italian food storm I am going to kick up, let me clarify – I love the idea of eating outdoors in the midst of nature…surrounded by trees, flowers, plants and some cool breeze for company. So that would be my party theme – Al Fresco dining Chennai style 😀 If you are thinking that I am nuts for suggesting eating outdoors in hot Chennai, I have some cool solutions for the same. To start with I wouldn’t be hosting my party during the summer!! Read on to know what else I have in mind…


Image Courtesy: Internet
Image Courtesy: Internet

The guests would be welcomed into my home to the taste of some sweet lime coolers served in martini glasses with mint infused ice cubes and a hint of syrup made from strawberry and mint conserve. I would definitely make sure that the martini glasses have little umbrella sticks on them to stir the drink and enjoy the feeling of being present on the beach. Just the right fix to beat the warm Chennai weather and kick start a party 🙂

IMG_4445Conversational Triggers – As I show them round the house, my guests would be served some munchies in the form of savory lollipops on a stick – baby potatoes marinated in an infusion of olive oil and carrot black pepper chutney and grilled to perfection! These would be served along with tamarind and date chutney….mmmmm I can already visualize my guests with their cool drinks in hand, breaking the ice and conversing with other guests while being served by waiters and waitresses in fancy black  jackets.

When its time for dinner, I would move the party to the dining area; not a formal dining room or anywhere indoors, but outdoors on the terrace in the midst of my terrace garden (that I hope to have) infused with the fragrance of jasmine, roses and herbs under the vast blue sky with the moon and the stars for company….U just can’t beat such an ambiance ! The table would be set with floral dinner sets, illuminated by floating candles and decorated with fresh-cut flowers in small vases. Soft lighting would brighten the terrace area and some lovely instrumental music by ARR or Ilayaraja or ghazals would be played to make the guests feel right at home. Ok! Ok! I will throw in a few fans here and there for some additional cool quotient! And then comes the food!!

Appetizers: Vegetable Hariyali Tikkis topped with swirls of a delicious dip made from thick creamy yoghurt and tomato chilli chutney served with thinly sliced onions, carrots,beetroots and a tiny lemon wedge!!

Oh yes!! This one is a part of the bigger meal unlike the little snack that was served initially!

Main Course: You can never go wrong with Rotis and Rice!!

Veggie Pulao
Veggie Pulao
Veggie Pulao topped with Makhani gravy!
Veggie Pulao topped with Makhani gravy!

Of course, the main course will be accompanied by some cool cucumber and boondi raita 🙂 Yummy!


Now for this portion of the meal I would be completely dependent on Kitchens of India 🙂 Most South Indians  love Gulab Jamoon served with vanilla ice cream. Taking some inspiration from this much loved dessert I would be serving Jodhpuri Moong Dal Halwa garnished with bits of delicious red apple and a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with a glaze of Apple and Cinnamon conserve on the side. Truly gourmet if I should say so myself 🙂

And how can I just stop with one dessert?   We all love mangoes, so keeping that in mind the other choice of dessert would be a chilled, thick and creamy mango smoothie made from real mango fruits, mango ice cream and milk beaten up with some Mango Saffron conserve topped with powdered elaichi and served in shot glasses with a piece of mango fruit for company! Divine!!!

Image Courtesy: Kitchens  of India
Image Courtesy: Kitchens of India

A beautiful finish to an evening of great conversations, fun, food and laughter!!

And as for party favors – Each guest would be going back home with a desert gourmet Halwa gift packs.

Hopefully my guests will remember the party for a long time to come 🙂


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