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the great outdoors

Enjoying The Great Outdoors

Now is the time when we really can enjoy the great outdoors.  The hot, sunny days give way to balmy evenings as we watch the sun go down, bringing a change of atmosphere  as well as temperature.  Here we take a look at the latest gixmos and gadgets to enhance the outdoor experience.


Fun Ideas for Lighting Up the Great Outdoors

Thinking of the lighting, LED lights complete with Bluetooth speakers are a great combination and can be waterproof for by the pool or spa too.  Don’t just settle for a circle of LED lights around the outer edge of your parasol, you can now buy sets that spread out like a spiders web to cover the spokes and shed light all round. For many, flaming torch stands have had their day but solar, moving-flame-effect versions are shining a new light on the subject of garden lighting and safety.


the great outdoors

A set of 4 torche de jardin torche solaire, €39.13 from

Get Cooking

Planchas, BBQ’s, pizza ovens, heaters, smokers, fire pits and even BBQ mats all form part of the great outdoors fun but, where do we stop?  Here’s something else to consider: small, portable BBQs are ideal for those moments when you don’t want to fire up the big grill or just want to heat up some appetizers.


A smokeless, portable mini-BBQ, €39.15,

Don’t forget the Decs

Garden decorations have come a long way too with decorated spikes for hanging plants, bird food and lights.  Some just look pretty whilst others can have a more practical use such as holding a glass whilst taking that winning croquet shot!  Speaking of hanging, are you bothered by mozzies?  Citronella hanging coils can look good and keep them at bay for hours.

A hanging retro wrought iron coil frame, €25.95 from


Tasty Ideas  

Marinades make all the difference, as does that that heady aroma of herbs such as rosemary thrown onto the BBQ or plancha.

  • A bunch of roughly chopped coriander and flat-leaf parsley make a great marinade for chicken when mixed with a crushed garlic clove and 3tbs each of white wine vinegar and sunflower or vegetable oil.  For that extra kick, add a thinly sliced chilli.
  • You can never go wrong with a Teriyaki sauce for dipping or marinading meat and vegetables!  Heat up 175ml water in a pan with 40g soft brown sugar, 35ml light soy sauce, a small crushed garlic clove and 1tbs ginger powder.  Stir to dissolve the sugar and simmer for 3 mins.  Make a paste with ½ tbs cornflour and add to the sauce.
  • Fish and chicken will taste amazing with a coconut-chilli marinade.  Just blend a 1-inch piece of ginger with 2 chillies, 40g dessicated coconut, 7tbs sesame oil and 1tbs fish sauce to a paste.  Marinade for at least 5 hours.

Garlic bread (three ways) is another winner.  Make cuts through the top of a baguette (but not all the way through).  Soften butter in a microwave, roughly chop as much garlic as you like, finely chop sprigs of parsley and mix them together, then slather it on between the slices.  Wrap in tin foil and bake on the BBQ or in an oven.  For a lighter version use olive oil instead of butter, or toast baguette slices and rub them with a halved and peeled garlic glove.

There is nothing like home-made lemonade, especially if you have lemon trees!  Start by rolling nine lemons on a hard surface to release the juices, then squeeze them.  Make a sugar syrup with 1.75 cups of white sugar and a cup of water (stir over heat until sugar has melted).  Add 7 cups of very cold water to a jug or container, stir in the lemon juice (with any pulp) then add the sugar syrup and ice.  Whatever else you add is up to you!

the great outdoors

Herbs add great flavour

Images: Shutterstock

First published in the May/June 2022 issue of The Local Buzz 


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