6 ideas for outdoor entertaining
Ah, the great outdoors. It’s that time of year when the evenings are long, the air is warm, and you get sudden cravings for 99s. I think food tastes so much better outside, so get the picnic rugs out and the disposable barbeque trays ready, here are some easy tips for outdoor entertaining.
1. Fire starter 1
One of the best things about barbeques is that you can easily delegate the “fire” part to men. Fire + meat = man heaven. My biggest tip is to lie, and tell whoever’s in charge of the barbeque that your guests are coming an hour earlier than they really are. That way you have a much better chance of having a barbeque that’s ready to cook on when you need it, rather than your guests standing around starving, waiting for their burgers to cook.
2. Firestarter 2
I’ve recently discovered fire bowls. Which make barbeques look very old hat. Cook your meal inside, eat outside, and then gather round your new firebowl where the embers glow. You’ll be whisked back to Girl Guide days. Hell, you might even sing a camp fire song or two...
3. The power of toasting
I am a recent convert to Smores. An American institution, I make them European style by toasting marshmallows and inserting them between two chocolate digestives. Revoltingly moreish. There’s something quite Dickensian about toasting marshmallows however – perhaps it’s the summer version of toasting crumpets. American Smores vs English crumpets, sweet vs savoury – whichever side you choose, make sure you have a lovely bowl of pretty pink and white marshmallows, and lots of kebab sticks for toasting, or if you’re thinking autumnal, lots of golden butter and toasting forks for the crumpets.
4. Outdoor lighting
You can buy gorgeous Chinese lanterns and extendable fairy lights everywhere now – just make sure they’re outdoor lights with the right plugs. And get an extension cable so you can place them exactly where you want them outside. Failing that, candles look beautiful. You can use anything from tea lights in paper bags, to church candles in hurricane glasses – or a mix of both.
If, like me, mosquitoes love you, dusk is falling, and the nerve-wracking whine in your ear has started, have some insect repellant handy for your guests. They will LOVE you for it.
6. We don’t live in the tropics
As the sun goes down, it will get colder. So bring some cushions outside and blankets for your guests. If they’re warm, they’ll stay longer.