Courtyard dinner party ideas that beat the chill

Winter is done and dusted and you’re looking forward to entertaining in your beautiful outdoor courtyard area again. The days are gloriously sunny, but those nights can still carry a slight chill factor that can leave guests needing a lick of warmth.

Here are some fun, warming ideas for an alfresco dinner party on a ‘sort of’ chilly night.

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Light it up!

Nothing speaks Australian nights like a toasty bonfire! Why not keep your family and friends smiling warmly with a bit of safe flame and some toasted marshmallows? Bonfire’s are surprisingly easy to build yourself and maintain all night long. Check out this awesome tutorial on how to make your own pit fire, or, get creative and build something a little more fancy, like this lacquered steel bonfire basket!

Hot soup for a cool night

Hearty stews and steaming hot soups are best enjoyed as winter comfort food.

Get creative and try some exotic recipes from around the world, like Greek avgolemono, Malaysian laksa noodle soup, Italian minestrone, a French bouillabaisse or Hungarian goulash.

Serve in delicious bread bowls, like clam chowder, or in special soup mugs to heat everyone’s frost-tipped fingers!

 

Keep calm and have a cup of tea

This may sound like a play date idea, but having some pots of tea with scones, biscuits or cakes can be incredibly satisfying on a brisk Sunday evening. Mix it up with a spread of lemon, sugar cubes, honey and milk, green, herbal and black teas.

Add a special twist with handcrafted specialty teas, such as goldfish teabags, blooming herbal teas, bubble teas or beautiful loose-leaf tea served in novelty infusers.

 

Spice up your life

For those who like a bit of a kick to their meals, curries are a wonderful sharing dish and bring some warmth to the party.

A menu of butter chicken, tikka masala and beef vindaloo, with soft naan and fluffy basmati rice, would not only combat the cool air – but welcome it!

For a lighter option, Thai dishes offer fresh but spicy dishes, such as massaman curry, tom yum soup or a chili-sprinkled stir-fry.

 

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Wet the whistle

For entertaining on a cool night, consider warming drinks that don’t require chilling.

Red wine has long been a winter staple drink and beautifully paired with hearty soups. A light nip of cognac, scotch whiskey or port can also add a delicious, elegant warmth to the night.

Mulled recipes for mead, cider or wine bring magical, robust notes of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, and the warm temperature gives you something cosy to sip on.

For something a bit milder, add a splash of Bailey’s into your hot chocolate or make a delicious alcoholic coffee with butterscotch and coffee liqueurs.

Written by Evelyn Kandris

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