Entertaining Blueprint with Rachel Ashwell

5th Edition
Rachel Ashwell
Rachel Ashwell founded the Shabby Chic brand in 1989 with the ideals of beauty, comfort, and function in mind. With those same philosophies, she’s become the consummate hostess and entertainer at her bed and breakfast, The Prairie by Rachel Ashwell in Round Top, Texas. Here, a beautiful sweeping landscape is the perfect backdrop for laid-back entertaining.
The Food
Nothing could be lovelier than an intimate meal with my children and family, close friends, or special guests at my Bed & Breakfast, The Prairie. These moments are precious, made for sharing and relaxing, the hostess included. Creating a friendly, cozy, and welcoming atmosphere sets a tone for guests to comfortably unwind. A hearty meal though never too fussy, makes family and friends feel nurtured and loved. Food in abundance prolongs the magic with tasty leftovers. To bring a little Britain to Texas, I like to prepare a Traditional English Roast Dinner, complete with a roasted chicken and English gravy, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, and my famous roasted potatoes.
Click here to see Rachel's favorite show-cooked chicken recipe
The Drinks
With the meal being a simple pleasure, don’t detract from the wholesome nature of the event, but do add something with whimsy, such as a This is such a fun and tasty twist to a traditional beer and perfect for the seasonal change. In Texas, it doesn’t get too chilly but when the sun goes down, there’s just enough chill in the air for for a nice cup of cider on a crisp fall night. And for those fall nights when it's still warm out, just add a few ice cubes to your cider and you're all set!
The Setting
The Prairie is my personal indulgence to entertaining. This is truly my soul’s home and the setting naturally provides all the ingredients to compose a cozy evening. My essential additions to the serene scene are lots and lots of fragrant candles and . I also try to make the tabletop a feast for the eyes and I love mixing delightful vintage treasures with classic white staples, such as my new Savoy Dinnerware, available at Rachel Ashwell stores. For this occasion I choose to layer muted linen tablecloths with pretty floral napkins topped off with vintage silverware and a very fitting decorative horseshoe can be fashioned into a place marker— simply tie on a handwritten place name!
AT THE PRAIRIE, a mix of classic Johnny Cash, soulful Van Morrison, and budding Leighton Meester roams through the autumn Texas air and immediately puts everyone at ease.
Rules of Entertaining
  • Be playful and create a visual story. I don’t necessarily theme my events but I dress them so they provide just a momentary escape from reality.
  • Mix old and new and be inventive. The key to creating a spontaneous and impromptu beauty is to rely on old favourites you know you love, such as an heirloom platter, or coloured glassware. These practical pieces can be used in a variety of decorative ways.
  • Have blankets and throws at the ready. Once dinner is over everyone will want to settle down and snuggle into the sofa with a night cap in hand, ready for shared stories.
The Essentials 9 Quart Round Dutch OvenClassic Whistling Tea KettleMugLarge Oval Serving Bowl