Welcome to Monet's Jardin Fête (Monet's Garden Feast). A feast for your eyes, taste buds and hearts.
Water Lilies (Nymphéas) by Claude Monet is such an iconic artwork. What's more interesting is that it is actually a large series depicting one of the most beautiful scenes from his own garden in Giverny, France. There is 250 in the collection which were created in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.
For me those paintings captured such amazing beauty. A perfect reflection of pretty French gardens and of Europe in spring. They are absolutely gorgeous.
Water Lily Pond, 1899 (blue) - Claude Monet
Claude Monet on the bridge in his garden in Giverny
The inspiration for this week's Dinner Party Post developed from my love of these paintings, which stemmed from the love my special mum had of them too. She would have loved to have enjoyed a dinner party themed by her favourite painting while feasting on French food. France was one of her great loves. I can imagine her laughing with a champagne in hand. Those of us lucky enough to know her can see this image clearly. She really was the best dinner guest to have at your table.
Imagine throwing a dinner party inspired by one of the world's most famous pieces of art. Perfect to farewell or welcome friends travelling to and from France, a special someone's birthday or to simply enjoy time together surrounded by inspiration from some of life's loveliest things; art, friendship, divine food and wine.
I've chosen table decor colours to reflect the oil paintings Monet created, while matching the spring atmosphere with fresh flavours of the most delicious French cuisine.
This is going to be one of the most enchanting dinner parties you'll ever create!
Tablescape & Space
When putting together this dinner party it's important to consider the table and space around the table to make your guests feel that they really have 'entered' a special place. Choosing to enjoy Monet's Jardin Fête outdoors is an absolute must. It's a celebration of his garden after all.
When looking for inspiration think of recreating the tranquility of his beautiful garden through the use of greens, blues, pinks and soft light. Monet was an impressionist artist, so light and shadow were all a part of his inspiration. The use of soft candlelight or fairy lights can add to the soft lighting of the dinner space to enhance that gentle impressionist feeling captured in Monet's paintings.
Additions of a brown paper/burlap runner topped with lace and pretty napkins, cutlery and glassware, roses, petals and a metal bucket filled with floating flowers and candles will pull everything together into the perfect evening balance between Monet and French dining.
Use burlap or brown paper as the base runner and top with a layer of lace.
Consider buying a cheap length of lace from a fabric store, or top the runner with overlapping
doilies (see an image below).
Find as many different types of flowers as possible to recreate Monet's Garden in your
chosen space. Lilies aren't always easy to come by, so find a variety of everything
in between from dahlias to roses. Green or blue glass vases help to recreate the feel of
the pond in Monet's paintings.
Tealight candles add beautiful light to any table setting, while using a tray to hug vases on a
smaller table is a great idea to tidy the setting.
Green and blue glass vases filled with roses and wild flowers.
Keeping your champagne and wine cool doesn't have to be boring. Bring a little bit of Monet's
garden into the ice with some flower heads or petals!
Paper or second hand doilies create a fantastic table runner, while using
different items to create various heights for your vases adds interest to
you tablescape. Uses similar materials and colours for the 'stands' so
everything looks the part.
Use old buckets, pails or washing tubs to create your own lilly pond with floating flowers and candles.
Optional Nibbles: French Cheese Platter (tips via Superb Cook)
Potted Salmon Rillettes (recipe by BBC Good Food)
The Main Course
Rib-Eye with Anchovy and Caper Butter (recipe by Australian Gourmet Traveller)
Serve the main course with a baguette to share.
Skillet Green Beans (recipe by Healthy Seasonal Recipes)
Rhubarb and Raspberry Clafoutis (recipe by From the Kitchen)
A perfectly French dinner party deserves a French champagne. This doesn't mean you need an expensive one, just make it French! The perfect way to start your Monet's Jardin Fête.
With main course you need a smooth red. If you're opting to go with the fill French experience, speak to your local Dan Murphy's or other bottleshop about a good bottle of Bordeaux that you won't need a personal loan for. They're a perfect match for rib eye. If you cannot find a Bordeaux, source yourself a bottle of Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir for a lighter flavour, or a more full bodied red in the form of a cabernet sauvignon or shiraz.
If you're planning on matching all courses, you could serve a dessert wine, such as Krinklewood's 'Lucia', or go for Chambord; the French raspberry liqueur created for King Francis I, for a late night tipple instead!
Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut. A bit of a splurge, but well worth it for a lovely champagne.
Available online from Krinklewood, or at their Cellar Door
The day before ensure champagne and wine is put in the fridge to chill down. On this same day make the Potted Salmon Rillettes and the Anchovy and Caper Butter, storing both in the fridge. If you are feeling exceptionally organised, bake the rhubarb. Cover it and set aside in the fridge ready to make the clafoutis the night of your dinner party.
On the day of the dinner party there is limited preparation required. This is an added bonus so you can put more time into decorating your table and space. A few hours prior to your guests arriving, crush and finely chop garlic for the green beans and set it aside, covered to use when cooking. Prepare the green beans and set aside in a bowl.
Ensure your Rib-Eye is set on a plate in the fridge, covered and ready to go. Place the thyme on a plate near the stove-top ready to use when searing the steaks and prepare a tray with foil to use for the roasting element of finishing off the Rib-Eye.
Spend an hour or two setting up your table and space. Begin with the runner and work from the base up. Runner, lace or doilies, platters or bases, to set the vases on, vases filled with flowers, tealight candles, individual settings, napkins with roses, cutlery and glassware. Put a wine bucket on the table or on a smaller drinks table and place the petals and flowers heads you are going to place in the ice in a dish to the side. This makes organisation easier later, as you will simply add the ice, champagne and wine to the bucket and top with the flowers and petals. Add water to a large metal bucket (or 3!) or pail and cover the surface with flowers and floating candles. Light these just before guests arrive.
Just before getting ready, remove the rhubarb and raspberry mixture from the fridge so it can come to room temperature while your enjoy appetisers and main course. Whisk all of the Clafoutis batter ingredients together, cover and set aside to pour over the rhubarb and raspberries prior to baking. Prepare the baking dish, cover and set aside near the batter.
Lastly prepare a simple French Cheese Platter, if adding it to your meal, and then cover it and place in the fridge just before getting ready.
Go and get ready to enjoy your night!
Just before guests arrive, place ice, champagne, wine and flowers in the wine bucket, serve the French Cheese Platter (if using) and pop the champagne.
After the nibble platter is devoured, or initial champagne is had, serve the Rillettes and let Monet's Jardin Fête begin!
With each course you will need only a little cooking time. As most of your organisation was already completed you are able to start preparing the main meal 20 minutes before serving the Rib-Eye. After placing the steaks in the oven, quickly sear the beans and then place them in their serving dish. Keep an eye on the steak while cooking the beans and ensure you do not overcook them. Remove the steaks when ready, rest and serve the main immediately with the Skillet Green Beans and baguette. Leave the oven on after removing the steaks and depending on when you plan to eat dessert, you can put the Clafoutis in the oven just before you serve main course, or after clearing plates if you'd like more of a gap between courses. Keep your eye on the time and everything will be perfect.
The food is going to be wonderful and so will your living Monet!
My Dinner Party Inspiration posts use some of my own recipes and photos, but also some recipes and images from blogs or sites I personally find inspirational. I in no way claim the work as my own and reference all recipes and photos by linking them all back to their original website.
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