Get a taste of the tropics at yours this holiday season, with super-chic set-ups that belie what a cinch they are to create.
In association with Citta.
When it comes to summer entertaining, we’re all about ease. However, with some simple styling tricks, those in the know can create a setting worth writing home about, turning any occasion into something pretty special.
1 Loosen up. A little layering is all it takes to create interest on the tabletop. Start with a linen tablecloth, then add rattan placemats as a textural contrast. Mix and match your crockery to keep the look casual, and do the same with your napkins; try knotting and draping them over your place settings.
2 Make edible art. At this time of year, tropical fruit forms an interesting – and tasty – centrepiece. Arrange melons, pineapples and coconuts on marble platters and wooden boards. We used an upturned acacia-wood bowl topped with a board in the same timber to create a stand that adds height to our arrangement. Dot smaller fruit such as limes or grapes around to fill the gaps, and use other natural accents (such as shells) for effect as well.
3 Stay put. Rather than heading out for the usual café catch-up, have your friends over for breakfast. Dishes you can prepare ahead of time, such as overnight oats, are ideal for keeping you out of the kitchen when your guests arrive. Pick up some locally roasted coffee to brew, and you’re sorted for brunch without the queue.
4 Go low. For an ultra-laid-back afternoon of chatting and snacking, take coffee tables and ottomans outside and surround them with cushions and throws. Load up a platter with bliss balls, nuts, medjool dates and other dried fruit, and use shaped cookie cutters to make your sliced fruit fun. Caramelised pineapple skewers are also easy to prepare – simply dip long wedges of skewered pineapple in a little coconut sugar and grill on the barbecue. Serve with sweet dukkah (see recipe below) and fresh lime juice and zest.
Coconut chai overnight oats
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup shredded coconut
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup almond milk, plus extra to serve
1 cup Storm & India Coconut Chai tea, brewed and cooled
1 tbsp honey (optional)
Toasted coconut flakes, super grain brittle and sliced fresh mango, to serve
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add the almond milk, tea and honey (if using), stirring well to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Next day, if the mixture is too thick, add a little more almond milk. Divide between bowls, sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes and super grain brittle, and top with mango slices.
Super grain & brazil nut brittle
½ cup red, white and black quinoa and amaranth (we used Ceres Super Grain Mix)
½ cup kasha (roasted buckwheat)
¾ cup brazil nuts, chopped
1 pinch sea salt
2 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp honey
Preheat the oven to 180°C, and line a tray with baking paper. Place the grains, kasha, nuts and salt in a bowl and stir to combine. Place the coconut oil and honey in a pot over a low heat, and stir occasionally until combined. Remove from the heat and pour the liquid over the dry ingredients, mixing to coat thoroughly.
Spread the mixture onto the baking tray, using a spoon to smooth it out to ensure even cooking. Bake for 10 minutes in the middle of the oven, then turn the tray and bake for a further 5 minutes, keeping a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn. When it’s fragrant and a deep golden colour, remove from the oven and leave to cool before breaking into pieces.
Chamomile & passionfruit iced tea
3 cups Storm & India Chamomile Blossom tea, brewed and cooled
1½ cups apple juice
⅓ cup passionfruit pulp
Mint sprigs and quartered limes, to garnish
120ml vodka (optional)
Combine the tea, apple juice and passionfruit pulp. Fill a jug with ice, add a few sprigs of mint and some lime quarters, then pour the liquid over the top. If using vodka, add 30ml to each glass, then top up with iced tea.
Hazelnut & raspberry dukkah
Makes 1.5 cups
⅓ cup chopped hazelnuts
½ cup freeze-dried raspberries
½ cup desiccated coconut
1 pinch salt
1 tbsp coconut sugar (optional)
Place the hazelnuts in a food processor and process to a rough crumb texture. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse to combine. Serve with caramelised pineapple skewers sprinkled with lime juice and zest.