Where does the table inspiration come from?
I like to think of a tablescape exactly as it says it is; “landscape”. Having been an artist my entire life and having painted plein air landscapes in the fields of Tuscany and Provence, my inspirations always come from Nature. I have the fortitude to live in Florida where I am constantly inspired by nature and the colors of the South. As a landscape artist in the past, my brain is trained to see the beauty in nature that someone else might just vision as a tree twig.
Today, for example, my neighbors are trimming their Palm trees so that the coconuts do not fall on someone’s head. This is where I befriend the gardeners and asked if they will give me all the coconuts. Not only do I have decorations for tablescapes and for my tables in the living room and outdoor patio, but I also appreciate the batch of the natural coconut water.
Most times, decorating my surrounding is where I start to set a table for a simple or elaborate tablescape. Like nature, the colors do not have to match or perfect, it’s the art of imperfection that I love, sometimes the more imperfect it is, the more perfect it becomes.
Turquoise and orange are not usually my go-to color combination, However, as I started putting it together and took out dishes I had not used in years, the picture started to come along. As for tablecloth, I used a Fouta towel made in Tunisia with 100 percent cotton. These unique towels come in various colors and sizes, they can also be used as bedspreads, bath towels, beach towels, hand towels and tablecloth.
Fouta towel is specially made to suit Tunisia weather which is usually dry and arid. The towel tends to dry in minutes in the hot Tunisia Sun. I brought home a suitcase full from my trip there, only to later find out that they also sell them in France, however, another suitcase full of fouta came home with me. These make perfect Christmas gifts and hostess gifts all year long.
The flowers here are orange, however, I love tulips because they always appear beautiful and elegant. The orange color was chosen because of the stripes color in the Fouta tablecloth. I’m not a big fan of white flowers as I believe there are so many beautiful colors in nature to choose for tablescape decor.
Be bold, have fun and think of nature when choosing your flowers and candles.
The glassware here are in different colors but sometimes the perfect glass can be monotone. Nevertheless mixing it up makes the creative process come to life. Remember, a tablescape is like a landscape canvas you are painting.
For dinner to go with this table, I made Tagine chicken with Tunisian spices.
You can try to find a recipe that is a bit exotic to go with your tables, however, most of us keep it simple and have fun.
Tagine chicken recipe and Tunisian Species
1 tsp oil
1 onion, diced
½ lb chicken breast, diced (roughly one breast)
1 ½ tsp coriander seed, ground
¾ tsp cumin
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp caraway seed
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ c water
1 russet potato, peeled and diced
8 eggs, beaten
3 oz (3/4 c) Swiss cheese, grated (or other white cheese like Gruyere, Monterey Jack, Gouda, etc)
½ c fresh parsley, chopped speciality food shops)
1 cup chicken stock
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
How to make it
Preheat the oven to 350⁰F.
In a large skillet, heat oil. Add diced onions and sauté over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes, until they begin to soften.
Add diced chicken and spices. Mix to combine. Add the water to the skillet and simmer until the liquid has evaporated, 2-3 min. Add the potatoes and sauté for an additional 2-3 minutes, until slightly tender. Remove the mixture from the heat and pour it into a greased 8×8 baking dish.
Mix the beaten eggs with 2 oz (1/2 c) of grated cheese and the chopped parsley. Pour the eggs over the chicken mixture in the baking dish. Top with the remaining 1 oz of grated cheese.
Bake the tajine for 35 minutes, or until the middle is set and the top is golden.
Remove from the oven and let the tajine rest for 10 minutes before cutting. (This will help it set and make it easier to cut.)
Cut the tajine into 8 rectangles and serve warm or cold.
Xoxo Love Darviny