How to Throw the Perfect Summer Dinner Party

Make the most of the stunning summer weather by eating al fresco as much as possible.  Outdoor entertaining is fantastic for large crowds, intimate settings and everything in between - all it takes is a bit of planning and some good weather to host the event of the summer.

Crank up the barbie

The barbecue is an absolute staple of the Australian summer, and for good reason. It's a quick and effective way of cooking a lot of food at once, and there's a lot more you can do with it than your classic sausages and steaks.

Guests following healthy meals plans will love vegetables placed under the grill. Anything from eggplant and courgette to sweetcorn and tomato cooks beautifully on the barbecue, and the smoky aroma will bring out delicious flavours in the produce. Chicken also works well on the barbecue - just make sure you cook it right the way through, as you would with other cooking methods.

Another advantage of using the barbecue in summer is that the chef doesn't have to be stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is outside having fun. A barbecue dinner really makes the cook the centre of attention!

Keep things casual

If you're used to more formal sit-down dinner parties it can be tricky to transition into casual affairs. But no one wants to be sitting in a dark room eating fancy dishes while the sun is shining outside, so don't be afraid to loosen up and invite your guests to do the same.

Encourage people to dress for the occasion - that is, in thongs, shorts and light summer dresses, and don't panic too much about perfect decor or too many fussy details. When it's warm outside and the drink is flowing, no one will worry about a missing entree or mis-matched serviettes.

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