Daunted by the thought of preparing a dinner party or BBQ for friends and family this summer? Glenn McGrath and wife Sara, share their advice on catering for a group, whether large or small, outdoor or indoor.
When you think of summer, cricket and wine are two things that come to mind, so it's quite fitting that Australian cricketing great Glenn McGrath is the official Hardys Cricket Ambassador. Here, Glenn and wife Sara share their top tips for summer entertaining.
Entertaining is all about preparation. We all get involved (including the kids), and are often still prepping when people are knocking on the door! By prepping early, you'll save stress once your guests arrive.
The Guest List
The key to a really enjoyable evening is to carefully plan who you are inviting. Summer is a wonderful time to extend relationships in a casual setting. If you're introducing people who haven't met each other before, have a large dinner party as this will help break the ice!
Flower arrangements around the house are a great way to decorate. You don't need expensive dinner ware, but flowers are the perfect way to prep your house a little. Beautiful flowers, great wine, food and lovely company is all you need for a successful evening.
We'll always kick off a dinner party with sparkling wine as it's a fun way to start the evening. The St James Sparkling from Hardys works nicely with a cheese board.
You can't go wrong with a beautiful bottle of wine at dinner. This will generally please everyone, but ensure you've got red and a chilled white on hand to suit each guest at your table.
When it's a lovely summer day, it's hot around the BBQ, so we'll always start off with a couple of beers and a beautiful, chilled white wine, but move onto a great bottle of red which compliments red meat. One of our favourites is the 2013 Eileen Hardy Pinot Noir, it's light and fruity - perfect for an afternoon in the sun.
We're also loving seafood on the BBQ at the moment, it's a bit lighter than red meat so ideal for a lunch time gathering. Try finding a Chardonnay that's not really oakey, something more light and fruity.
Catering the menu to your guests is really important. Always consider if there are kids coming along and make sure your menu won't leave anyone out! It's really important to cater for everyone's dietary needs as well, as this will avoid any awkward moments at the dinner table.
Always ask your guests how they like their meat cooked. There is nothing worse than giving someone a rare steak if they like it well done, and vice versa.
In summer we like to have loads of vegetables on the table to go along with the meat. We steer away from potatoes and carrots and prefer lighter options like a quinoa salad mixed with capsicum and feta, drizzled with lemon and sprinkled with coriander. You'll find that once the kids get used to quinoa, they'll love it!
We always try to have an interesting component to the meal, like using something from our garden or any fresh fish we have caught that day, we'd incorporate that. Doing this makes the meal a bit more special and motivates some fun conversation!