Summer entertaining in Australia is synonymous with barbequing, or the ‘barbie’ and snags as we locals call it. Hot balmy nights call for outdoor dining and whilst we might already be in the depths of February, the warm weather will continue for another couple months at least. Make entertaining easy so you can enjoy the time with your friends and family thanks to our helpful guide here!
Our top 5 summer dinner party ideas:
- Invite your guests for a barbeque
- Make it easy on yourself and buy a pre-cooked showstopper
- Summer entertaining means bubbles, crisp whites and fun rosé
- Go on a picnic and keep everyone outdoors
- Offer no cooking required sides like a green salad
Heat up the grill
There’s no better time to fire up the grill and get sizzling when it comes to easy summer entertaining. Impress with perfectly cooked steaks from Meatsmith and grab a few links of gourmet sausages, always a hit with kids and adults alike! Barbequing naturally leads your dinner party outside and is a quick and easy option for summer cooking.
Premium Ready Made Meal
Whether you’re hosting a summer dinner party for a group, or having dinner with the family, sometimes it’s easier to just leave the cooking to someone else! We vote to leave it to Meatsmith and order their slow cooked lamb shoulder for a seriously easy, yet delicious dinner. Made famous at the iconic Melbourne restaurant Cumulus Inc. you can now enjoy it at home when ordering from the butcher shop. It’s lovingly slow-cooked by their in-house team of chefs and marinated in garlic, olive oil and lemon zest. The best part? All you need to do is heat it up in the oven, so you can focus on your guests! If your heart is set on cooking your own centrepiece, check out the recipe at the bottom of this guide courtesy of our friends at Meatsmith.
Wine for Sunshine:
With the warm weather giving us all something to savour, celebratory wine is called for! We like to start any summer bbq with a bubbly glass of sparkling wine, that’s really appropriate for any season. Transition to a light zesty white wine or keep it ‘summery’ with a refreshing rosé on hand to offer your guests. All you need to do is make sure your esky is filled up with ice and your glassware is ready for service!
Make the most of the gorgeous weather and keep things outdoors. What better time to head to the park for a picnic with friends? Dust off a few rugs and pull out your picnic basket. We love taking easy outdoor fare with us when it comes to easy summer picnics. Pick up a selection of charcuterie items like prosciutto, shaved ham and pastrami; add in some cheeses and olives; and finish with some fresh grapes and berries for later. Don’t forget a fresh bread stick, cutting utensils, and of course a pair of sunnies!
Don’t forget your greens
Make sure to offer a refreshing big green salad to go with your steak or ready-made lamb shoulder. We love serving salad as a side for summer entertaining, because it doesn’t require you to turn the oven on! Keep cool and prepare it in advance before your guests arrive. All you need to do is dress your salad leaves right before eating to ensure you’re not left with a big soggy mess.
And for those who can’t help themselves but turn on that oven, here’s a delicious recipe sure to get your guests coming back every summer!
Recipe for Lamb with Cumin from Meatsmith
Serves 6 | 20 mins preparation | 8 hrs cooking plus marinating
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp sea salt flakes
1 lamb shoulder, bone in (about 2kg)
60 ml olive oil (¼ cup)
To serve: pinch of thinly sliced dried red chilli
250 ml vegetable oil (1 cup)
1 head of garlic, cloves separated, finely chopped
¼ preserved lemon, rinsed, seeds removed
1½ tbsp chardonnay vinegar
100 ml olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp sea salt flakes
Dry-roast peppercorns and cumin until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Cool slightly, then pound in a mortar and pestle. Add garlic and coarsely crush, then add salt and stir to combine.
Place lamb shoulder in a roasting pan to fit snugly. Rub salt mixture over, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to marinate (4 hours-overnight).
Preheat the oven to 150C. Add 250ml water to the pan, cover tightly with foil, then roast until lamb is tender (2 hours). Reduce oven to 110C and cook until very tender and falling off the bone (add a little more water if the pan becomes dry), removing foil for the last hour of cooking to crisp the skin (6 hours).
Meanwhile, for fried garlic, heat oil to 170C in a saucepan over medium heat, add garlic and stir occasionally until light golden (30 seconds-1 minute). Drain on absorbent paper.
For lemon sauce, pound preserved lemon in a mortar and pestle to a smooth paste, add vinegar, whisk to combine, then slowly add olive oil and whisk to combine.
For cumin salt, dry-roast cumin until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Cool slightly, then pound in a mortar and pestle until coarsely ground. Add salt and pound to just combine.
Skim fat from pan juices (discard fat) and transfer pan juices to a jug. Place lamb on a serving platter and shred meat from bone at the table.