Summer Entertaining


There is something about summer that we New Zealanders embrace, not the muggy heat, not the mozzies and certainly not the unpredictable weather, but we throw off those BBQ covers and get inviting.  Subtle and simple, we don’t possess any airs and graces its merely a casual “pop over and we will throw something on the barbie”.

Well, I do have a little problem with that, not the simplicity, not the food itself and not the spontaneity, but the lack of preparation to make your guests feel truly welcome in your home.  Just a couple of hours of prep will give you and your friends the perfect hygge vibe.

When we hygge we find the enjoyment in everyday and simple tasks and so the mere process of getting your home guest-ready should actually be a form of contentment in itself.  Setting up spaces, tables, and food platters is something I find satisfying; to create a place where your guests can feel free to participate and celebrate takes effort and care.  The space you provide must invite them to do so by making them feel that they are a special part of your life and that sharing your home with them gives both you and them ultimate pleasure.  Hygge.

Summer Entertaining

Summer entertaining

Summer Entertaining

summer entertaining

Tips for sharing your home

If you are starting with a clean and tidy home your preparation time is halved.  Your guests wont notice a little dust on your shelves but they will notice the washing that awaits folding.  Make sure your dishwasher is empty, ready for quick and easy loading.

The food can be simple and wholesome, presentation is the key.  Prepare platters with breads, dips, chopped vegetables, olives and cheeses.  If you are cooking a dish such as a lasagne, do it early in the day and slow cook it then keep it warm in the oven, it tastes better that way.

Lay the table, even if you are eating outdoors, add a table cloth and napkins, use chopping boards for place mats.  Place cutlery bound with twine and a sprig of jasmine or rosemary, place flowers or herbs into little bottles or jars and randomly place them down the centre of the table.  Add candles, if not for light, then atmosphere, if not for atmosphere, then to repel those mosquitoes.

Use over-sized platters and bowls for the food; a last minute menu as simple as Sausages and Baked Potatoes, Green Salad and Buttery Corn can look amazing when the platters are garnished with herbs and little dishes of sauces or dressings.

Chill wine in buckets of ice and have on hand with water carafes and glasses where guests can feel free to enjoy by helping themselves.  A barcart is a godsend when entertaining.  I found this beautiful NZ wine recently and am loving sharing it.

Add cushions to outdoor furniture and blankets for when the evening starts to cool off.  Have insect repellant on hand.

This preparation prior leaves you time to enjoy the time with your guests without getting up and down to fill glasses and find things they may need to be comfortable.

Antipasti platter

Antipasti platter

Plum Cake

Plum cake

Interior Styling | Kitchen

These are my quick and easy go-to recipes for summer entertaining without stress.  

I make sure I always have the ingredients needed in my cupboards, garden or fridge and freezer.

Toasted Ciabatta

Use an electric knife to thinly slice your loaf.  Brush over olive oil with your favourite herb added.  Bake in slow oven until crisp.

Feta and Chilli Dip

Place a block of feta, some lemon juice, sprinkling of red chilli flakes, salt and pepper into a processor and whizz, add olive oil to achieve consistency and taste.  Top with some more chilli flakes and chopped walnuts or pistachios for a garnish

Baked Brie with nuts and honey

Chop cashews, walnuts and pistachios and fruit such as dried figs and dates.  Spread honey over cheese, add the nuts and fruits.  Bake in slow oven for 30 minutes.

Paleo Crackers (for your gluten free guests)

See here for the recipe.

Pumpkin Lasagne

Prepare the mince would usually do using a tin of tomatoes and pasta sauce.  Add in grated carrot and courgettes, and other finely chopped vegetables.  Layer in between with a tin of Watties Condensed Pumpkin Soup and spinach leaves.  Top with grated cheese.  No need for cheese sauce!

Plum Cake with Thickened Cream or Custard

Use a vanilla cake mix or recipe and pour into a ring tin.  Halve plums and place rounded side down into the filling with the top slightly raised.  Bake as usual and serve with thickened cream, greek yogurt or custard.

Rosemary and Fruit Water

Fill a decanter or jugs with ice and water, add rosemary or mint, citrus fruit and rose buds.

Photography and Styling by My Little House

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