While hosting that afternoon of silly season drinks might have seemed like a cracking idea back in September, the reality is that as the date draws ever closer, it’s looking more like a looming and ominous diary entry than a pleasantly frivolous one. It’s up there with cleaning out the fridge, going to your doctor for a pap smear (or prostate check) and/or driving down the coast on Christmas Eve.
And while the aforementioned obligations really can’t be made any better or less daunting, entertaining friends and family en masse really can. You could even go so far to say enjoyable...that’s if you know how to do it, where to get your supplies and just how to put them to good use.
Ergo, we bring you The Urban List guide to easy and economical holiday season entertaining – these six tips are guaranteed to make you look like Martha Stewart crossed with Nigella crossed with Oprah (i.e a downright goddess).
1. The Flowers
Yes, you could go all out and order little bouquets from your favourite florist, OR you could get your toosh out to the Brisbane Flower Market and buy up on just one particular type of bloom. Alternatively you’ll find Rosalie Gourmet Deli have a brilliant array of well-priced blooms. Break up the bunch into loads of little posies sporadically around the house. Get them the day before and lessen your work for the day of.
2. The Cheese
Everyone loves cheese! But instead of getting tiny wedges of different types, opt for bigger wedges or whole wheels of just two varieties – not only does it scream generosity, you’ll find buying them in bulk far more economical. The recently launched Fino Food Shop is our pick when it comes to bulk cheese buying. And they sell onto all the top restaurants and delis so you’re getting REALLY GOOD stuff. You’ll be able to get your crackers and additions from these spots too at a good price. Take your cheese out 30 minutes before serving to bring it to a good and oozy temperature.
3. The Slow-Cooked Meat
Seriously you’ll wonder why you didn’t get on this bandwagon earlier. Slow cooked meat that’s falling apart, shredded and placed on the table is a godsend. Just add a few jars of matching condiments and a pile of fresh little dinner rolls and you’re ready to go. Pulled pork is always well received – and it’s a way cheaper cut to buy. Plus, because you’ve put it on like 8 hours before your guests arrive it’s pretty much done the moment you turn the slow cooker on. We love Mallan’s Meat at Fairfield – the prices and service are both excellent.
4. The Clean
No matter how well behaved your guests are your house is going to need a good post-cleaning job. Ergo, don’t spend time doing a pre-clean – do a soft one the morning of your event (e.g make it look tidy), and go hard at the surfaces the following day. Think of it as a work out and mopping a very good way to sweat out that sore head.
5. The Utensils
“I really like washing up” – said no one ever. And when it’s for a party, the amount that needs doing is going to increase by a bulk amount. And don’t you use paper plates! They can look a little naff... you’re an adult after all. The solution? Serve your food on good quality platters, but leave piles of serviettes around and structure it so that none of your food requires a) a plate and b) cutlery. Genius. Multiple amounts of washing up averted.
6. The Sweets
Sweets are a funny thing when it comes to entertaining, mainly because when you put them out everyone’s just so darn full. They’re picked at, and then go to waste. But, you do need to do them because good old fashioned hosting without a sweet ending just don’t feel right. An affogato however does – and not just because of the alcohol inclusion. A plunger of strong coffee, a tub of good vanilla bean ice cream and a bottle of frangelico will put you in good stead. Make them to order, and in disposable cups. Entertaining done.
Image credit: Ariana Gillrie