A few Saturdays ago I had the pleasure of top interior design blog Remodelista, the sourcebook for contemporary living, as guests at my home for afternoon tea and a photo shoot. London Editor Christine asked if I could create a tablescape for them to feature, and with casual family summer lunches in mind I decided to create a look that was simple, colourful, informal and relaxed and based around growing vegetables and having raw ingredients on your kitchen table to make your own sandwiches as you sit. These are some of the photos from the afternoon, taken by talented photographer Rahel Weiss.
As it was a Saturday my children were at home and involved too and one of their favourites is egg and cress sandwiches. I chose a selection of eggs from my local Waitrose – quails’ eggs, lovely soft blue eggs and white eggs – which I grouped in pastel bowls. I hard boiled them all, so they could be peeled and sliced to make DIY egg sandwiches. The children grew watercress from seed the week before in pretty pastel egg cups. I sliced the farmhouse batch bread, buttered it and let the children peel the eggs and crumble and slice them onto the bread. They snipped and added the cress and sprinkled a few grains of sea salt on top and them devoured the crusty sandwiches with crumbs all around.
To decorate the table I painted terracotta pots from my local garden centre with emulsion paint in shades of grey, and used them as bowls to display radishes with their foliage still attached. I did the same went with organic carrots as they look so lush with the long stem and leaves still attached, adding to the display. I only have herbs growing in my little London garden at the moment so I bought growing lettuce still in soil in my local Sainsbury’s and replanted them in the painted terracotta pots, washing the leaves first and leaving scissors on the table nearby to snip the required amount off. The idea was you could harvest your own salad right there at the table. A painted wooden fruit box from my local market was used as a tray to contain some of the pots. It is one of the projects from my book The Homemade Home for Children.
Fizzy drinks were bought in old fashioned looking glass bottles, which I bought from Marks and Spencers. Striped straws add fun but in grey and white matched my kitchen decor. Fruit such as strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, and mint leaves too, were added to ice cubes creating a sweet little detail to our drinks.
I made the centrepiece simply with water-filled glass milk bottles (yes, we have a milkman!) with garden flowers and vegetables pushed down into the water, their foliage acting as greenery.
A Victoria sponge cake with whipped double cream spread over and strawberries generously piled on top is an easy pudding that looks and tastes delicious. The three little letter pebbles spell the word EAT and are from another project in my book.
A big thank you to Remodelista for popping by, (you can see the original post here), to Rahel Weiss for the great photos (see her folio here), to my friend Chrissie Holden for helping out and her culinary skills and to my children for gobbling it all up.
This informal lunchtime meal had a sprinkle of creativity, a dollop of fun and plenty of crumbs and was enjoyed by all.
Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, creative director and consultant based in London. She is a Contributing Stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for over 18 years, and is known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, leading international brands and retailers as well as style consultancy for top architecture practices and property development companies. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.
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