The festive season is the perfect time to relax with mates or family around an outdoor table laden with delicious treats straight from the barbecue. But there can be a little pressure to take things up a notch at Christmas and turn a meat-and-salad meal into a much more impressive affair. If it’s your turn to host, don’t panic! It’s possible to pull off the perfect Christmas BBQ while keeping your cool … you just have to remember a few simple tips.
Stick to the classics
Tempted to serve up a prawn ceviche followed by a whole barbecued ocean trout? Maybe dial your aspirations down a notch and stick to some of the classics. A shoulder of lamb rubbed simply with rosemary and garlic, or some deliciously sweet and spicy chicken wings. Get inspiration for summer barbecue recipes here – try to pick a few dishes that help to keep the shopping list to a manageable (and affordable) length.
Delegate where you can
Speaking of saving a little time and money, don’t be afraid to delegate. Your guests would much prefer to be told what to bring than to worry about turning up empty-handed. From nibbles to salads to post-lunch cheese boards, there’s something for everyone to bring. As Chief Delegator, you can assign different tasks to different people – so you don’t end up with ten cheeses and nothing else.
Preparation is the key
Ask any chef the secret to their success and they’ll tell you it’s all about preparation. Get as much done before the guests arrive as possible. For example, you could prepare a delicious frozen dessert the night before – so that all you have to do when it’s time to dish it up is whip up some cream and scatter a generous handful of fresh berries upon it.
Keep calm, and the drinks cool
No BBQ is complete without an Esky full of ice and brews. As host, it’s your job to provide the ice and a reasonable amount of booze – hopefully people will BYO, too. You might want to have a little fun and create your own signature drink to welcome guests. Rosy raspberry spritzer, anyone?
Christmas isn’t just for the kids! Set up a few outdoor games to keep everyone entertained all afternoon or evening. Some simple, old-school games include quoits, Frisbee, croquet or the Aussie classic, backyard cricket. Just watch out … some adults tend to get a little competitive after a spritzer or two!
Make it festive
Christmas decorations are nostalgic, festive and fun. Classic Christmas crackers, napkins and other table decorations can be picked up for a song at your local shopping centre, or you can get crafty and make your own. String up some twinkling lights if your celebration is going to continue into the evening … and don’t forget the Christmas tunes belting out from the portable stereo.
And, remember, have fun
Christmas is a time to get together with your loved ones, enjoying good food and each other’s company. Don’t sweat the small stuff – rather, get out there and have a beautiful day.