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The hostess with the mostest: Easy home entertaining recipes

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The hostess with the mostest: Easy home entertaining recipes

From breezy barbeques to long-lunches and fun-filled dinner parties, it’s official: the season of entertaining is here. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or first-time host, we’ve rounded up four easy recipes to make home entertaining a breeze.

Start by setting the scene. For instaworthy dinner or servingware, head to <insert retailer i.e. David Jones, Myer, House, Robins Kitchen, Target, Kmart, Bed Bath N' Table and Salt & Pepper>. Instantly add elegance with a linen tablecloth from <insert retailer i.e. David Jones, Myer, Adairs and Kmart>. Styling tip: Opt for white linen to keep it classic, or experiment with a fun pattern or pastel to add a fresh pop of colour. Finish your tablescape with flowers from Sheman & Anderson Florist and vases from David Jones, Myer, House, Bed Bath N' Table, Kmart, Country Road, ISHKA and Adairs.

Image source: @intheroundhouse

Now it’s time to tackle the menu. From starters to dessert, these simple recipes will delight with fresh flavours and seasonal produce.

Vodka Watermelon Cooler

Kick off with a refreshing cocktail upon your guests’ arrival. Shake up @jennifermeyering’s fresh and boozy vodka watermelon recipe that is easy to make and perfect for a warm day! Simply omit the vodka for an equally tempting, non-alcoholic mocktail.


Image Source: @jennifermeyering

__Ingredients (serves 4): __

  • 8 cups watermelon, cubed
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vodka
  • Fresh mint leaves to garnish
  • Watermelon sliced to garnish

__Directions: __

  1. In a blender, add watermelon, lime juice, honey, and water and blend until fully pureed.
  2. Pour through fine mesh strainer to remove pulp and seeds. Add vodka and stir to combine.
  3. Pour over ice and garnish with extra watermelon slices and mint leaves, if desired, and serve immediately.

Mandarin, Fennel and Avocado Salad

Pair grilled chicken, lamb or prawns with this vibrant, scrumptious salad from @gimmesomeoven. This mouth-watering mandarin, fennel and avocado combo is simple, light and adds a citrus twist to your menu. Feel free to swap out the almonds for walnuts, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.


Image source: @gimmesomeoven

__Ingredients (serves 4): __

  • 200g mixed salad leaves
  • 4 mandarins, peeled and separated
  • 1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • Half of a small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup loosely-packed fresh mint leaves
  • 2/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted

For dressing:

  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp freshly-cracked black pepper

__Directions: __

  1. Make the dressing. Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, honey, Dijon mustard, sea salt, garlic powder and black pepper together in a small bowl (or shake all ingredients together vigorously in a sealed jar) until completely combined.
  2. Combine mixed leaves, mandarins, avocado, fennel bulb, red onion, mint and almonds together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad evenly and toss until combined.
  4. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Prawn Tacos

Tacos are shrimply the best especially when served with prawns. This zesty recipe from @gimmesomeoven will bring the zing to your get-together. Have a guest who doesn’t like prawns? Try our Greek lamb and feta tacos >.


Image source: @gimmesomeoven

__Ingredients (serves 4): __
Prawn Tacos:

  • 1kg large prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 2 to 3 tbsp taco seasoning
  • Pinch of sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil (or olive oil)
  • 8–10 flour tortillas (or corn tortillas)
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted and thinly-sliced
  • Optional toppings: chopped coriander, red or white onion, sliced jalapeño and/or lime wedges

Coleslaw Dressing:

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander
  • 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • (optional) 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, stemmed and cored
  • 1 bag coleslaw mix

Chipotle Crema:

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or mayo)
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce (or 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Directions:
Coleslaw Directions:

  1. Combine the Greek yogurt, coriander, lime juice, cumin, salt, black pepper, green onions, garlic and jalapeño (if using) in a blender or food processor.  Pulse briefly a few times until the mixture is combined.
  2. Place the coleslaw mix in a large mixing bowl. 
  3. Drizzle the sauce on top of the coleslaw, then toss until the mixture is evenly combined. Season with extra pepper and/or lime juice if needed.

*Taco Directions: *

  1. Combine all of the chipotle crema ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth.
  2. In a mixing bowl, toss the prawns with the taco seasoning, plus a generous pinch of salt and black pepper, until evenly coated. 
  3. Heat oil in a large non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat. 
  4. Cook the prawns for 3 to 4 minutes, flipping once, until they are opaque and cooked through.  Transfer to a clean plate and set aside.
  5. Fill each flour tortillas with a generous serving of the slaw, a few slices of avocado, a few prawns, a drizzle of chipotle crema and sprinkle with your favourite toppings.

Key Lime Pie

This luscious, American classic from @bakeplaysmile is a celebration of the tropics!


Image source: @bakeplaysmile

__Ingredients: __

  • 250g plain sweet biscuits like Arnott's Granita, Marie or Graham Crackers
  • 125g butter melted
  • 395g sweetened condensed milk full fat (not skim)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 4 eggs large, room temperature
  • 1 tsp lime zest, and an extra tsp for sprinkling prior to serving
  • 300ml whipping or thickened cream for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius (fan-forced). 
  2. Grease a 22cm loose-bottomed tin and set aside.
  3. Crush the biscuits until they resemble fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and mix to combine. 
  4. Press the biscuit mixture firmly into the base and sides of the tin. Bake for 10 minutes in the oven. Remove and allow to cool. 
  5. Using electric beaters or a stand mixer, beat the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, eggs and lime zest until thick and creamy (approximately 4-5 minutes). 
  6. Gently pour the liquid into the prepared base and bake for 15 minutes or until set. Allow to cool in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours (preferably overnight). 
  7. Serve with whipped cream and extra grated lime zest. 

So grab your shopping list and pick up your ingredients from Woolworths, Coles, Catalono's Seafood and Liquorland.