The arrival of spring signals the end of our long winter hibernation and the rebirth of our social lives, as we move on from evenings spent with comfort food on the cosy, warm sofa. Warmer weather and longer days means sunny evenings spent with friends, enjoying light, refreshing meals and plenty of delicious drinks. Now that your friends are actually willing to venture outside and make the journey to your home, we’ve come up with a guide to help you throw the perfect spring dinner party and bring in the summer with a bang. From the perfect spring menu to stunning flower arrangements, you’re guaranteed to leave your friends impressed.

If you’re looking for the ultimate way to impress, consider a kitchen re-design with Optiplan Kitchens; we can design and manufacture a bespoke kitchen based on your unique specifications and desires to give you the kitchen you’ve always wanted. Browse our gallery to take a look at some of the incredible kitchens we’ve designed and get some inspiration.

What to Eat

food-salad-dinner-eating

Starter

Keep it light, tasty and easy for yourself by making a few delicious dips and serving them alongside vegetable crudités like red pepper, carrot and cucumber sticks, toasted pitas and tortilla chips. Not only will you be halving your work load, but creating a relaxed, chilled out, and welcoming environment as guests mingle and share food from a platter. You can prepare all the dips ahead of time, and simply serve in pretty bowls when your guests arrive, leaving you free to enjoy yourself.

Here are a few dips to try out:

Lemony Cashew Parsley Dip

This deliciously fresh and creamy dip from Hemsley & Hemsley is rich in vitamins and antioxidants, easy to make and tasty to boot. Serve with raw veggie crudités.

Kiwi Avocado Salsa Verde

Love & Lemons give us this tasty (and seasonal!) salsa dip with a twist. Made with kiwi, avocado, red onion, fresh herbs, garlic and jalapeno, it is bright, tangy and just a little bit sweet. The perfect hit of colour and flavour to pile onto tortilla chips.

Vegan Kale & Artichoke Dip

This second Love & Lemons number is sinfully healthy and entirely vegan, made from nutritious and delicious ingredients – sunflower seeds, chickpeas, kale/spinach, and artichoke. Deliciously creamy, serve with toasted pita.

Roasted Beetroot Humus

This delicious humus with beetroot is vibrant and healthy, with the most amazing deep purple colour. Packed with protein and flavor, serve with veggie crudités and pita.

If you are feeling slightly more ambitious, and have more time/budget on your hands, seriously impress your guests with this INCREDIBLE antipasto platter with a Greek twist…

Loaded with goat’s cheese stuffed sweet cherry peppers, assorted deli meats, marinated artichokes, roasted bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, marinated feta and olives, hummus, fresh fruits and veggies, pita & chips, it is to die for.

Main

Now that the weather is improving, heavy, warming foods are off the menu, replaced with light, healthy meals. Keep things easy for your main course by making an array of light and delicious salads that your guests can pick and choose from alongside a protein or pasta dish. Make life easy for yourself and prepare the salads ahead of time so you’re not running around frantically.

Here are our favourites:

Buckwheat Noodles with Broccoli and Miso Avocado Sauce

This vibrant salad is packed with healthy and vitamin rich veggies, filling soba noodles, and a zingy, tasty miso avocado sauce. Top with spring onions, coriander and black sesame seeds.

Lemon Garlic Roasted Broccoli Salad

This fresh roast broccoli salad has plenty of flavour, colour and texture from the caramelized pine nuts, lemony balsamic dressing, fresh kale, pomegranate, salty feta and creamy avocado. It is the ideal light summer salad.

Grilled Peach Salad & Mint Pesto

This fruity salad is made up of juicy, sweet grilled peaches, spicy arugula, creamy fresh mozzarella, crunchy pine nuts, and a fresh, tasty pesto. It is the perfect balance of flavours and screams spring.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

This quinoa based salad is incredibly healthy and flavoursome, full of mint, avocado and fresh herbs, scattered with flaked almonds and pomegranate for extra texture, crunch and bursts of flavour.

We suggest serving these salads alongside something easy like chicken skewers, or this Mediterranean Lasagna packed with veggies, sun-dried tomatoes, and loads and loads of oozing cheese. Ready in under an hour, and requiring minimum effort with maximum flavour, you’re guaranteed not to get those kitchen worktops too dirty!

Dessert

Spring desserts should be light, fruity, creamy and sweet all at the same time… Enter the pavlova, the absolute king of spring desserts. Chewy meringue, fresh fruit and loads of whipped cream – what more could you ask for?

Because we have a slight obsession, we’ve found a few variations for you to experiment with…

Classic Berry Pavlova

This classic take on the pavlova comes from Jamie Oliver. Piled high with fresh berries and cream, it is the ultimate British Summer classic dessert.

Lemon Pavlova

The delectable variation comes from the queen of the pavlova, Nigella Lawson. Filled with creamy lemon curd, crunchy flaked almonds and piles of whipped cream, the zesty acidic lemon works perfectly with the sweet meringue.

Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova

Dark & rich, Nigella wins yet again with this crisp, chewy chocolate meringue made with cocoa and chocolate, topped with cream & berries, and sprinkled with flaked chocolate.

Kiwi & Passion fruit Pavlova

This meringue is loaded with fresh seasonal kiwi and passion fruit. Zingy and fresh, it is perfect for a warm spring evening.

What to Drink

 Warm weather calls for ice-cold beer, chilled wine and refreshing, summery cocktails packed with fresh ingredients that take you right to the beach.

Cocktails

If you’re big into your booze and love mixing drinks, get stuck into this list of 15 simple spring cocktails from The Kitchn. Covering everything from pitchers of fruity strawberry basil margaritas, to refreshing icy cold green tea mojitos, watermelon-cucumber refreshers, and blueberry rum smash, just the names alone are even to get us excited.

How to Decorate

Keep your party decorations simple and classy, in tune with the light, understated menu.

Champion nature and the first of the season’s flowers by placing simple vases of flowers around the house and on the table. Spring flowers abundant at the moment include hellebore, snowdrop, lilac, iris, hyacinth, crocus, daffodil, tulip, double rock rose and hydrangea. Mix and match to create effortless, beautiful bouquets showing off the best of the new season. Keep it cheap by visiting your local flower market and choosing what’s on offer.

Don’t worry if you don’t have loads of vases sitting around, but use your imagination and make use of any buckets, jars, bottles etc. that you have around the house. Take some inspiration from House Beautiful and Good Housekeeping, and try out one of these gorgeous arrangement here and here.

Keep table cloths, napkins and place settings simple and elegant, and let the flowers take centre stage.

Tables 2

Food, drink, decoration = sorted. Easy, simple, and guaranteed to ensure you don’t spend the whole night slaving in the kitchen, but relaxing and enjoying a fun spring evening with your friends.

The arrival of spring signals the end of our long winter hibernation and the rebirth of our social lives, as we move on from evenings spent with comfort food on the cosy, warm sofa. Warmer weather and longer days means sunny evenings spent with friends, enjoying light, refreshing meals and plenty of delicious drinks. Now that your friends are actually willing to venture outside and make the journey to your home, we’ve come up with a guide to help you throw the perfect spring dinner party and bring in the summer with a bang. From the perfect spring menu to stunning flower arrangements, you’re guaranteed to leave your friends impressed.

If you’re looking for the ultimate way to impress, consider a kitchen re-design with Optiplan Kitchens; we can design and manufacture a bespoke kitchen based on your unique specifications and desires to give you the kitchen you’ve always wanted. Browse our gallery to take a look at some of the incredible kitchens we’ve designed and get some inspiration.

What to Eat

food-salad-dinner-eating

Starter

Keep it light, tasty and easy for yourself by making a few delicious dips and serving them alongside vegetable crudités like red pepper, carrot and cucumber sticks, toasted pitas and tortilla chips. Not only will you be halving your work load, but creating a relaxed, chilled out, and welcoming environment as guests mingle and share food from a platter. You can prepare all the dips ahead of time, and simply serve in pretty bowls when your guests arrive, leaving you free to enjoy yourself.

Here are a few dips to try out:

Lemony Cashew Parsley Dip

This deliciously fresh and creamy dip from Hemsley & Hemsley is rich in vitamins and antioxidants, easy to make and tasty to boot. Serve with raw veggie crudités.

Kiwi Avocado Salsa Verde

Love & Lemons give us this tasty (and seasonal!) salsa dip with a twist. Made with kiwi, avocado, red onion, fresh herbs, garlic and jalapeno, it is bright, tangy and just a little bit sweet. The perfect hit of colour and flavour to pile onto tortilla chips.

Vegan Kale & Artichoke Dip

This second Love & Lemons number is sinfully healthy and entirely vegan, made from nutritious and delicious ingredients – sunflower seeds, chickpeas, kale/spinach, and artichoke. Deliciously creamy, serve with toasted pita.

Roasted Beetroot Humus

This delicious humus with beetroot is vibrant and healthy, with the most amazing deep purple colour. Packed with protein and flavor, serve with veggie crudités and pita.

If you are feeling slightly more ambitious, and have more time/budget on your hands, seriously impress your guests with this INCREDIBLE antipasto platter with a Greek twist…

Loaded with goat’s cheese stuffed sweet cherry peppers, assorted deli meats, marinated artichokes, roasted bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, marinated feta and olives, hummus, fresh fruits and veggies, pita & chips, it is to die for.

Main

Now that the weather is improving, heavy, warming foods are off the menu, replaced with light, healthy meals. Keep things easy for your main course by making an array of light and delicious salads that your guests can pick and choose from alongside a protein or pasta dish. Make life easy for yourself and prepare the salads ahead of time so you’re not running around frantically.

Here are our favourites:

Buckwheat Noodles with Broccoli and Miso Avocado Sauce

This vibrant salad is packed with healthy and vitamin rich veggies, filling soba noodles, and a zingy, tasty miso avocado sauce. Top with spring onions, coriander and black sesame seeds.

Lemon Garlic Roasted Broccoli Salad

This fresh roast broccoli salad has plenty of flavour, colour and texture from the caramelized pine nuts, lemony balsamic dressing, fresh kale, pomegranate, salty feta and creamy avocado. It is the ideal light summer salad.

Grilled Peach Salad & Mint Pesto

This fruity salad is made up of juicy, sweet grilled peaches, spicy arugula, creamy fresh mozzarella, crunchy pine nuts, and a fresh, tasty pesto. It is the perfect balance of flavours and screams spring.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

This quinoa based salad is incredibly healthy and flavoursome, full of mint, avocado and fresh herbs, scattered with flaked almonds and pomegranate for extra texture, crunch and bursts of flavour.

We suggest serving these salads alongside something easy like chicken skewers, or this Mediterranean Lasagna packed with veggies, sun-dried tomatoes, and loads and loads of oozing cheese. Ready in under an hour, and requiring minimum effort with maximum flavour, you’re guaranteed not to get those kitchen worktops too dirty!

Dessert

Spring desserts should be light, fruity, creamy and sweet all at the same time… Enter the pavlova, the absolute king of spring desserts. Chewy meringue, fresh fruit and loads of whipped cream – what more could you ask for?

Because we have a slight obsession, we’ve found a few variations for you to experiment with…

Classic Berry Pavlova

This classic take on the pavlova comes from Jamie Oliver. Piled high with fresh berries and cream, it is the ultimate British Summer classic dessert.

Lemon Pavlova

The delectable variation comes from the queen of the pavlova, Nigella Lawson. Filled with creamy lemon curd, crunchy flaked almonds and piles of whipped cream, the zesty acidic lemon works perfectly with the sweet meringue.

Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova

Dark & rich, Nigella wins yet again with this crisp, chewy chocolate meringue made with cocoa and chocolate, topped with cream & berries, and sprinkled with flaked chocolate.

Kiwi & Passion fruit Pavlova

This meringue is loaded with fresh seasonal kiwi and passion fruit. Zingy and fresh, it is perfect for a warm spring evening.

What to Drink

 Warm weather calls for ice-cold beer, chilled wine and refreshing, summery cocktails packed with fresh ingredients that take you right to the beach.

Cocktails

If you’re big into your booze and love mixing drinks, get stuck into this list of 15 simple spring cocktails from The Kitchn. Covering everything from pitchers of fruity strawberry basil margaritas, to refreshing icy cold green tea mojitos, watermelon-cucumber refreshers, and blueberry rum smash, just the names alone are even to get us excited.

How to Decorate

Keep your party decorations simple and classy, in tune with the light, understated menu.

Champion nature and the first of the season’s flowers by placing simple vases of flowers around the house and on the table. Spring flowers abundant at the moment include hellebore, snowdrop, lilac, iris, hyacinth, crocus, daffodil, tulip, double rock rose and hydrangea. Mix and match to create effortless, beautiful bouquets showing off the best of the new season. Keep it cheap by visiting your local flower market and choosing what’s on offer.

Don’t worry if you don’t have loads of vases sitting around, but use your imagination and make use of any buckets, jars, bottles etc. that you have around the house. Take some inspiration from House Beautiful and Good Housekeeping, and try out one of these gorgeous arrangement here and here.

Keep table cloths, napkins and place settings simple and elegant, and let the flowers take centre stage.

Tables 2

Food, drink, decoration = sorted. Easy, simple, and guaranteed to ensure you don’t spend the whole night slaving in the kitchen, but relaxing and enjoying a fun spring evening with your friends.