9 Tips for Stress-Free Entertaining

These days life is so busy, you rarely have time to spend a week preparing for guests when you're entertaining. What you need are quick and easy ideas to whip up in no time. Here are 9 tips to make sure you don't spend all night in the kitchen.

When you have guests over, the last thing you want to do is slave away in the kitchen. Jodie Blight, author of Summer Table, shows us how to create a time-saving spread that will impress your guests.

1. Choose recipes you can prepare ahead of time. That way you spend more time with your guests and less time in the kitchen.

2. Depending on how many people you are catering for, choose 4 or 5 different items and make enough for each person to have a couple of pieces each. Much easier than making 10 different things.

3. There is nothing worse than spending hours preparing food just to watch it sit on the platter all night and then throw it out after the guests leave. Choose recipes which are healthy and fresh. Most people around this time of year are trying to watch what they eat, so cater accordingly. Besides, who wants greasy hot food on a warm summer’s night, when you can enjoy beautiful fresh ingredients just as easily? 

4. Have a platter of cheese, antipasto and dips available so people can nibble all night.

5. Serve a special welcome drink when guests arrive, a Mimosa or Mojito and then advise guests it is ‘help yourself’ for the rest of the night. Make sure there are plenty of non-alcoholic options as well.

6. Freeze fruit like grapes and cherries to place in drinks, or freeze mint leaves or limes wedges in ice cubes to keep those cocktails cool.

7. Remember your guests who have special dietary requirements, especially gluten free which is so prevalent these days.

8. Don’t forget ‘that something sweet’ at the end of the night. You don’t need much but it is always nice to finish with a little sweet treat.

9. Prepare your music in advance. When your guests RSVP, ask them to name a few of their favourite tunes to make sure you have something for everyone. Don’t forget to throw in a few classics – ‘It had to be you’ Harry Connick Jr, ‘Save the last dance for me’ Michael Buble, and ‘The best is yet to come’ Tony Bennett.

Get some of the delicious entertaining recipes from Summer Table here - 


Summer TABLE is an interactive cookbook available from independent bookstores across Australia, Big W or online at hellotable.com.au. RRP $34.95

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