Here at The Spice People, we believe good entertaining starts with good food. Food is the universal language that brings people together from all facets through a shared passion and love. There is no better feeling I think than looking out at a big table to see family and friends enjoying food together. To paraphrase ancient literature and coin our own term; ‘If you cook it, they will come’.
When the weather gets a little warmer and the sun stays up a little longer, I swing into full outdoor entertaining mode. With Christmas, New Year and various other birthdays and occasions falling in the summer months there’s always an excuse to get friends and family together. Although in our house, summer weather and daylight savings are excuses enough.
Not a weekend goes by in summer without having someone around at our house; which don’t get me wrong, I love. However, it does mean I need a plethora of delicious dishes to keep the hungry hordes happy; so, I’ve collated a few of my favourite warmer-weather recipes for you to have on hand when entertaining guests this summer. From snacks and main meals to side salads, drinks and desserts, check out my top summer entertaining picks below. Click the dish names to go to the recipes.
Snacks and Entrees
To kick things off are some simple snack and entrée ideas to enjoy with a glass of wine or beer or, my personal favourite, a refreshing Spicy Margarita, but we’ll get to that a little later. A delicious and easy-to-make snack idea are our Egyptian Dukkah-Spiced Multigrain Chips. These are not only super tasty but would you believe it, healthy?! Using just some wholegrain packet wraps and our Egyptian Dukkah spice mix, these can be whipped up in no time and with frequent get-togethers those few potato chips add up so finding a healthier alternative is always a bonus. Serve with the tangy yoghurt dip included in the recipe and enjoy!
For a slightly more elaborate (but don’t worry, just as easy) entrée you can’t go past our crowd-pleasing Prawn Tostada Platter. This baby is the king of platters with plump, juicy sizzling paprika prawns, a bright, colourful fresh salsa and cooling sour cream all served atop a crunchy baked wrap triangle. Better yet, this is a DIY job; simply place all the ingredients on one platter in the middle of the table and let people help themselves. Less dishes and washing up means more relaxing and enjoying time for you!
Continuing on with our seafood theme is our delicious Salt and Pepper Calamari. These tender rings of calamari are super flavoursome with a little hint of spice. Douse in lots of fresh lemon and serve with a crisp, cold chardonnay. The perfect summer’s evening in my book!
Now that your appetites are whet, it’s time for main meals. When I think of having friends around for summer lunch or dinner I think BBQ. We Australians love our BBQs and it’s such a great way of being able to cook whilst spending time with your guests outdoors rather than cooped up in the kitchen. There are few things more Australian than a barbie and even more so, lamb on the barbie. My recipe for Spiced Grilled Lamb Chops is as easy as it is delicious and celebrates an Aussie hero because we think the humble chop deserves it. Rubbed in an aromatic dry spice rub and grilled until succulent and juicy this dish is a winner in my house every time.
Next up is our Jerk Chicken with Jamaican Slaw. This dish combines our love for the traditional Aussie BBQ with a delicious flavour-packed Jamaican Jerk Seasoning taking your grilling to the next level and so easy to do. Served with a fresh slaw with the fruity and Allspice flavours of the Caribbean this recipe is summer night perfection.
Following on from our tasty tostada starter is a prawn main because you can never have enough prawns in summer, right? Our Prawn Tacos with Paprika Slaw not only look beautiful and vibrant but they taste absolutely delicious. When grilled on the BBQ these juicy Australian prawns become caramelised and sweet marrying perfectly with the sweet smoky flavour of the Paprika in the slaw. All wrapped up in a tortilla with cool, creamy avocado, this is a little flavour pocket rocket best served with feet up and a cold Corona in hand.
Whoever said you can’t make friends with salad never tried our Mexican Chicken Salad. This is a salad with attitude and packed full of flavour and texture; we are sure any salad-sceptic with love it! This dish is a treat for the eyes as well as the tastebuds and as an added bonus, is wholesome and nutritious. Serve as a side dish at a BBQ or as a meal in itself.
Every BBQ needs a classic green salad but they can sometimes be a little dull and boring. Our Cos and Green Bean Salad with Middle Eastern Yoghurt Dressing is anything but! This fresh, zesty salad is the perfect accompaniment to grilled lamb, chicken or veggies.
You can’t entertain guests without ending the night on a sweet note. Our recipe for Figs with Mascarpone and Cardamom celebrates the humble fig with a little Middle Eastern Twist. In this recipe, we’ve cooked the figs in the oven but they can also be just as effectively done in the BBQ. Simply cover and place the dish in the BBQ and close the lid. Cooking time may vary depending on your BBQ so keep an eye on them. Serve these sweet juicy babies with lashings of mascarpone. Super easy and is sure to satisfy that sweet-toothed friend.
For something a little cooler on a warm night my Masala Chai Semifreddo with Crushed Pistachios and Fresh Figs is much-loved by all my family and friends. This Indian twist on a classic Italian dessert is cooling and sweet with a hint of spice from our People’s Chai. It’s an easy one to make and certainly beats icecream and strawberry topping!
With all these delicious dishes, you’re going to need something to wash them all down. After all, what is summer entertaining without flowing cocktails? Classic beer and wine is always a favourite but I’ve come up with two refreshing cocktails with some unusual spicy twists. Check out my easy recipes below. Simply combine all the ingredients together, shake or stir as directed and enjoy!
Sparkling Tamarind Gin Toddy – Stir, strain and serve – Makes 2
- 60ml Gin
- 1 tsp tamarind in 125ml water
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 500ml soda water
Spicy Margarita – Combine the Cayenne and salt to coat and the rim and for rest: shaken, not stirred – Makes 1
- 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 3 tbsp tequila
- 1 tbsp agave nectar
So, there you have it, my top recipes for making your summer entertaining a breeze and a pleasure. If you make any of our dishes be sure to send us some snaps by uploading to social media and adding the hashtag #thespicepeopleathome. We love seeing our recipes and spices being enjoyed by you all.
Now lets’ get to making those margaritas!