Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to paint the town (pink and) red, but I thought it would be fun to stay home this year – I think you’ll agree that a fireside picnic is a wonderful alternative to going out. Your indoor picnic can be as informal or as romantic as you wish, and you can set the ‘table’ for two…or you can invite all your friends instead. The best thing is that you don’t need a fireplace to create a cozy atmosphere in your living room. I’ve got plenty of simple tips for creating a gorgeous display and a delicious feast, so read on! Recipes and shopping links are provided at the bottom.
My recipe for a Valentine’s Day Indoor Picnic
A picnic Blanket & Cushions. You can’t have a picnic without a picnic blanket! I layered several rugs over each other to create a larger area to sit on, plus I loved the clashing colours and patterns. You could also use a patterned duvet cover instead of a blanket or rug. Scatter plenty of cushions or pouffes around the perimeter of your picnic area to create a comfy boho feel. No uncomfortable guests allowed!
Pink & Red Objects of all kinds. The colour scheme for our picnic is pink and red, with jolts of green and grey for contrast. Take a walk around your house and round up any objects that fit the colour scheme. For me, this included books, cushions, plates, glasses, trays, boxes, candlesticks, napkins, a chair and even a radio (!). The things you already own will form the backbone of the display, and can be used to add colour even if they seem irrelevant to a dinner party. For example, I piled up books on the mantlepiece and on the picnic rug simply because they add visual interest.
Flowers and Candles. These are the only non-food items you will need to buy. I opted for bunches of pink roses, as well as pink, grey and green candles in different shapes and sizes. You can take things up a notch by burning a rose-scented candle, too.
Picnic Foods. The idea is to spend time laying out the picnic, rather than spending time cooking! I went shopping for my favourite sweet and savoury finger foods, and made sure to include some nibbles that would add to the colour scheme. Think cupcakes with pink frosting, berries, cherry tomatoes, beetroot dip, and smoked salmon. Scroll to the bottom for a list of all the foods used here, but remember that anything goes! Oh, and don’t forget drinks! For a touch of luxury, you can add crystallised or fresh rose petals to your glasses.
I hope I’ve left you feeling thoroughly inspired! There is definitely enough time to get this ready for tomorrow night, and I hope you have a most wonderful evening by the fire (or by candlelight).
Food & Shopping guide
Shopping guide: Pink and grey pillar candles from Tiger Stores / Rose Duet candle from Diptyque at Liberty / Pink and white chevron rug from Graham & Green / Green oak leaf rug from Designers Guild / Concrete Candlesticks on mantlepiece from Anthropologie / Square pink and grey pouffe from Graham & Green / Green cushions with patterned trim from Designers Guild / Illustrated YES cushion by Helena Maratheftis / Heart Puzzle from Tiger Stores / Heart luggage tag on champagne from Tiger Stores / Floral plate by Nathalie Lete at Anthropologie / Pink tin gilded plates from Liberty / Green milk glass cake stand from a selection at Liberty / Roses from Harry’s Flowers
Food list: A selection of cheeses (including heart-shaped) from la Fromagerie / Beetroot hummus* / smoked salmon / prosciutto and other charcuterie / bread and crackers / Cherry tomatoes / fresh rocket for garnishing / cheese-stuffed peppers from M&S / Crystallised rose petals from la Fromagerie / Home made mini meringues** / Heart cupcakes, heart chocolates, swiss roll, and florentines from a selection at M&S / Chocolate heart box from Prestat / Raspberry and chocolate covered almonds from Tiger Stores / fresh strawberries and blueberries / Drink list: champagne with crystallised rose petals / red wine / Elderflower cordial with rose petals and fresh berries
* To make this vibrant beetroot hummus, simply mix a container of store-bought hummus with a teaspoon of beetroot powder. (Beetroot powder can also be used to colour cakes and frostings, as well as an addition to juices and smoothies.)
** We used Nigella Lawson’s basic meringue recipe to make large and small meringues. The small ones were dipped in melted chocolate and sprinkled with chopped pistachios. the large meringues were topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit. Delicious.