Winter warming ideas for entertaining at home
Some of the best nights out are spent, well, in. With the shorter days and long, cold nights of winter well and truly here, the thought of venturing out can be less appealing than in the buzz and throng of summer. But winter is the perfect opportunity to entertain in the warmth and comfort of your own home.
Why not take advantage of the slower social scene and satisfy the urge to stay put? Whether it’s an anniversary you’re celebrating, a housewarming to show off your new digs, or you just need an excuse to get together with some friends, we say go for it. Here are our top ideas for entertaining at home this winter.
HOST AN INTIMATE DINNER PARTY
Most of us have wonderful memories of times spent around a dinner table. Winter lends itself to the intimacy and cosiness of a dinner party where a small and considered guest list can share a hearty meal, drink some really great wines and leave with stories of great conversation with friends. Inviting your closest friends, family or important clients to your place for a formal dinner shows how much they mean to you and gives you a proper chance to catch up.
Example dinner menu:
Barbecued heirloom carrots w smoked goats curd, hazelnut crumble, thyme & breakfast radish (V) (GF)
Roasted ballotine of free range chicken w carrot puree, fried Jerusalem artichokes & red vein sorrel.
Winter citrus tart w lemon curd, lime meringue & basil cream
THROW A COCKTAIL PARTY
For a lively winter soirée that’s not so formal, a cocktail party can be just the ticket. With some smart canapes making the rounds, friends and family mingling around a fire, bold reds and sparkling wine flowing freely, you have the makings of a perfect winter party. Warm things up with an aromatic cocktail such as our cinnamon-infused whisky with fresh green apple juice and a sprig of rosemary.
Bite-sized should never be boring. Or measly. Serving a range of canapes is a great way to showcase the season’s ingredients, and will hit the spot with hungry guests. Get the right balance of sharp bitter greens alongside warm, melted cheese, with a stinging nettle and four-cheese arancini with herb aioli. A crisp, organic chicken skin with house-made parfait, toasted hazelnuts and quince syrup is a contrast of crunchy and salty with rich creaminess and a touch of sweetness. Of course, you want your guests to feel satisfied and nourished, so fill them up with a warming supper dish of coq au vin with red wine, mushrooms, pancetta and crushed potatoes.
CHOOSE A WINTERY THEME
There’s a lot to be said for party themes to get everyone into the spirit. Sure, ugly sweater parties might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you can add an element of festive and sophisticated fun with the right wintery theme. Après ski anyone? Or how about Christmas in July? Think less gaudy tinsel, more refined, candlelit splendour and green centrepieces where the food does all the talking.
A Christmas in July theme lends itself to heart-warming food that can be shared. What’s more show stopping than a whole bird carved at the table in front of guests? A brined and roasted turkey with a sage and chestnut stuffing is hard to beat, especially when served with duck fat potatoes and all the trimmings. A classic and timeless dessert like treacle pudding and clotted cream or a quince and rhubarb trifle will really make it feel like Christmas.
CONSIDER HIRING STAFF
If you’ve ever hosted your own party, you know how rewarding and satisfying it can be. You’d also know just how much work can go into every detail. By engaging professional staff you can choose to have help with some aspects of the event, or the whole thing, from concept and menu planning, to cooking, serving and cleaning up. With the right people around, you can make your evening, and the lead up to it, a lot less stressful and a lot more enjoyable.
Naturally, if you’ve gone to the trouble of throwing a party you want to be able to spend time with your guests. Having a private chef do the catering means you can forget the weeks of painstaking menu planning and frantic last-minute shopping, as well as any worries about spending your night rushing to get meals from the kitchen to the dinner table.
You might want to consider hiring waiters to help out on the night. With the right help, you can effortlessly host a seamless, memorable night for your guests, without missing out on any of the conversation, great food, wine and music. You can relax and connect with your guests around a crackling fire or cosy (and stunning) dinner table… and all without the headache of having to wash up in the morning.
At The Caterer, we pride ourselves on the attention to detail we bring to each job. Whether you’re planning a celebratory dinner for 20, or a cocktail party for ten or 110, we can work with you to come up with the ideas, provide the staff, and deliver the remarkable food to make yours a truly memorable event. Call us on 02 9693 1444 to talk to us about hosting an event at your place this winter.