Simple Provisions

Food does not need to be fancy to be celebrated

The Simple Provisions Guide to Summer Entertaining simpleprovisions.com.au

5 weeks till Christmas. Argh! I’m hosting Christmas this year, which should be relatively stress free given our family has an all-in approach to Christmas cooking. But I’m still thinking about how I can make the day special.

Recently I was asked to contribute to an article that featured great ideas for throwing a simple and elegant party. I brainstormed with myself when coming up with ideas for the article, and have shared these ideas with you below.

Hopefully this collection will spark something in you and help make your silly season a little easier.

SAVOURY

  • Place avocado halves on the BBQ to blacken slightly before making guacamole. The result is a delicious, smoky flavoured dip.
  • Make store-bought dips look more appealing by adding chopped fresh herbs, olive oil and nuts to the top
  • Grill vegetables like broccoli, corn and carrot on the BBQ before adding to salads to add extra flavour
  • Use cheaper cuts of meat to make pulled pork, brisket or shredded chicken to fill bread rolls. Serve with salads
  • Serve a simple pasta “family style” on a big platter with fresh crusty bread and a green salad on the side. Something about an overflowing platter makes even simple food seem special.

SWEET

  • Soak strawberries in white wine and caster sugar and serve with whipped cream or ice cream
  • Add edible flowers to icy pole moulds before pouring in your favourite icy pole mix to make them beautiful
  • Serve store-bought, good quality, vanilla ice cream with a glug of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Tres chic
  • Keep good quality, store-bought biscotti or almond bread in the pantry ready to serve with coffee for a perfectly acceptable end to a meal.

DRINKS

  • Add a teaspoon of jam to cocktails for flavour and colour. Try gin, lemon juice, a splash of simple syrup and a teaspoon of raspberry jam stirred then served over ice
  • Keep your ice cubes festive by adding mint and tiny lemon wedges to the tray before filling with water. Use to make sparkling water or cocktails pretty
  • A bowl of punch = instant party.

DECORATE

  • Don’t serve anything in the packet it came in. Decanting condiments, chips and dips makes them seem far fancier
  • Fairy lights make everything seem more festive
  • Use brown craft paper as a table cloth or runner to add simple elegance which doubles as easy clean up
  • Use a posy of fresh herbs from your garden as a simple and beautiful smelling centrepiece
  • Use a collection of preserving or jam jars as single stem vases; no need for flower arranging and the decoration remains low, so everyone can see everyone else over the top. Also works with candles.

Do you have any ideas for making entertaining simpler?

28 thoughts on “Summer Entertaining Guide

  1. Genius! I guess if I made icypoles with gin and flowers in them they wouldn’t freeze properly, would they. I have a billion beautiful orange nasturtiums in the garden – now I just have to think of an icypole flavour to add them too….

    1. Amelia says:

      How about something creamy Jane? A pale background to show off the flowers? Greek yoghurt, honey and berries make yummy icy poles, even better with flowers.

  2. Saskia (1=2) says:

    OMG smoked avocado?! That sounds like all kinds of delicious.
    Seriously LOVE the idea of adding chopped herbs, olive oil and nuts to store-bought dips. We’re hosting our whole street of neighbors for Christmas drinks this year, which has placed me in a state of mild panic. Love these ideas. Hadn’t even thought of punch. Perfect!
    PS. My go-to for making entertaining simpler is to cook up a huge batch of glazed Japanese meatballs and freeze them weeks in advance. Defrost the night before and add toothpicks. Voila!

    1. Amelia says:

      Freeze-and-defrost is an excellent strategy Sas, and I love the idea of glazed Japanese meatballs, yum. Good luck with the party!

  3. MeaghanC says:

    Oh when it is so cold here in Canada I’m so jealous of Australian friends starting summer! Enjoy 🙂

    1. Amelia says:

      Don’t mean to rub it in Meaghan, but it’s pretty perfect here today! But nothing beats a white Christmas, so don’t be jealous too long.

  4. Jing says:

    When I saw summer entertaining for Christmas, I was like what?? Then I realize that this is for the southern atmosphere. I wish I could eat sweet and cold drinks at Christmas without getting brain freeze 😉 And that soaked strawberries in white wine just makes me craving for sweet stuff right now!

    1. Amelia says:

      White Christmases make a lot more sense than balmy, sweaty ones, but fresh seafood and cold cocktails generally help make everything OK!

  5. Love these ideas… The jam in the drinks is a particular favorite!! X

    1. Amelia says:

      Anything with jam is generally better, don’t you think?

      1. I could not agree more! X

  6. thesageowlblog says:

    Very jealous of summertime Christmas! Love the savoury and sweet tips! Can’t wait to try them out for summertime in this neck of the planet.

    1. Amelia says:

      It’s a lovely time of year to celebrate, and hosting is much easier in warmer months than colder ones I think. But I can’t say that I don’t crave a white Christmas, especially when most Australians still insist on cooking the full English Christmas spread, which is totally unsuitable for the climate!

  7. laurasmess says:

    This is an awesome post Amelia! I’m hosting Christmas this year myself and to be honest, I haven’t even considered what I’ll be making as yet! Love the tips about ‘fancying up’ simple food for a special occasion. As for the ice cream with olive oil and salt? Ah, delicious!!!! Sounds so easy and beautiful. Have a wonderful Christmas lovely! xx

    1. Amelia says:

      The olive oil ice cream is definitely worth a try, perhaps tonight, in the name of “food blog research” 😉

  8. Lucy says:

    Great ideas Amelia! Good luck with hosting Chrismtas – I’m sure you’ll do a marvellous job x

  9. margaret21 says:

    Christmas is kicking in here in the UK too. But of course with us it’s all mulled wine and steamed puddings and hearty rib-sticking fare. Fascinating to read about a summer Christmas. Just one thing….what on earth are icy poles?

    1. Amelia says:

      Icy poles are ice lollies, frozen things on sticks 🙂 Not at all suitable for a UK Christmas.

  10. Gorgeous ideas Amelia – ALL of them! We’re having friends over for Christmas drinks in a few weeks time, so your ideas will definitely come in handy! Cheers!

    1. Amelia says:

      Cheers to you Margot, I’m sure you’ll put on quite a spread for your guests, lucky them.

  11. A bowl of punch totally equals party! Also I love the sound of that cocktail with jam – yum! It’s not really a tip, but I always like handing out a party favor when guests leave. Something small, like homemade caramels or cookies that fit the theme or the season of the party. Makes feel me a little like Martha Stewart. =)

    1. Amelia says:

      It’s a lovely idea Jessamine, and *very* Martha. She’s also big on hostess gifts, which I hope my family cotton on to this year…. 😉

  12. Lee says:

    Loving This! The idea of BBQing the Avocado before making the guacamole is pure genius. It is my dad’s favourite dip and I shall certainly being adding your little twist to it next time we have a Mexican dish, I am sure he will be grateful! I have been thinking that this year Christmas needs to be a little less traditional and a little more spontaneously delicious and this post has inspired me. Thank you 🙂

    1. Amelia says:

      You are very welcome Lee, I hope your dad appreciates your guacamole efforts!

  13. I love these little ideas!! Especially the one with avocado! They all look delicious though!

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