Author Jean Morrison
Successful outdoor entertaining - hints and tips
Outdoor entertaining can hold some special challenges so it is good to be prepared, otherwise the event can become quite stressful. You might be aiming for something creative but remember to keep it simple. Your guests don't want you to be tired and stressed out on their account.
The best tip is to prepare the food well in advance when entertaining outdoors.
Outdoor entertaining tips that really work
If you have enough outdoor space you can create a separate lounge area as well as a cooking/dining area. Then you can be really comfy after the meal is finished.
Always ensure you have sufficient lighting and this includes pathways and stairs.
If you have any outdoor lighting that is sensitive to movement you may wish to turn it off otherwise it can become annoying.
Use heavy tablecloth pegs to hold down the edges of your tablecloths. These are available quite cheaply at Red Dot or King Kong stores
On windy days it may be preferable to substitute a roll of paper towel for the usual paper napkins.
If you are short on serving bowls try hollowing out half a water melon and use it for a salad bowl or try using a large, topped and de-seeded capsicum to serve dips or pickles in.
Don't attempt to serve food that has to be prepared at the last minute. Have virtually everything prepared beforehand.
Choose foods that won't suffer too much if they reach the outdoor temperature quicker than you would have liked.
As much as possible have food that guests can serve themselves. If it is a stand up affair then you don't want to serve anything that needs to be cut up with a knife. Make everything small and manageable.
Have plates stacked at the start of the buffet area and then cutlery and napkins at the end.
Edible flowers are great as table decorations. Use nasturtium flowers, pansy flowers and any of the flowers that are produced by edible herbs.
Shallow bowls with floating candles and small flower blossoms are colourful decorations for the table..
Use citronella candles to keep insects away and have some insect lotion or spray available for guests to use.
Provide bins or rubbish bags and thereby save yourself some tidying up work after your guests have gone home.
Outdoor entertaining doesn't necessarily have to involve a barbecue. Hot dishes can be cooked inside and this is sometimes preferable if you don't have someone available who is adept at using your barbecue.