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 In Lifestyle

Entertaining at Home,
Without the Stress

There’s nothing better than creating memories with the people you love and sharing your hospitality, but entertaining at home can feel like a lot of work, and people often feel the pressure to put together something elaborate…

Hosting friends and family in your home is something people often simultaneously look forward to and dread. There’s nothing better than creating memories with the people you love and sharing your hospitality, but entertaining at home can feel like a lot of work, and people often feel the pressure to put together something elaborate.

Marshall White Boroondara sales executive Nikki McCarthy advises that when it comes to entertaining in your home, it’s always best to keep it simple, particularly if you’re pressed for time. ‘When I host people at home, usually I head through to Camberwell Market and pick up all of my produce on my way home from work that day and put the whole meal together then,’ she says. ‘If the quality of the produce you use is fantastic, anything you make with it will be excellent.’

Prior to entering real estate, Nikki owned and managed a number of restaurants, giving her first hand experience in how to create a memorable experience at home simply yet effectively. Whether she’s entertaining at home in Hawthorn East, at her partner’s home in South Yarra or at Sorrento over the holidays, she applies the same broad set of principles to designing her menus.

‘Usually what I do is pick up a really beautiful piece of protein, whether that’s meat or fish, do some potatoes and a couple of salads for the main course,’ she explains. ‘Then for dessert I’ll get some whole peaches, halve them, pop them in the oven with some crumble on them and then serve them with ice cream, and everyone thinks I’m Martha Stewart!’

The key, Nikki suggests, is getting as much as possible ready ahead of the actual day of your function, allowing you to focus on the food and the fun on the day, whether this involves getting additional chairs, considering the seating arrangement of the table or even just final decorative touches. ‘Make sure you have your house or venue ready a couple of days ahead of the actual event,’ she recommends. ‘Think about the details of the event. Fresh flowers make everything better!’

‘The best thing about entertaining for me is bringing people together,’ says Nikki. ‘Everyone’s so busy, just to be able to relax every now and again with some good food is a great experience.’

Depending on the size of your event, consider whether you may need additional help on the day. ‘Over Christmas, we host around 50 or 60 people at the beach, so this year we hired someone for two hours to do all the dishes and it made a big difference,’ Nikki says.

When it comes to post event clean up, try and make everything as easy as you possibly can. ‘Two or three of us will usually gather all the plates and put them in the dishwasher on the night, and then we’ll deal with everything else in the morning,’ Nikki advises.

Ultimately, the most important thing about entertaining is showing the people you’re hosting that you care. ‘The best thing about entertaining for me is bringing people together,’ says Nikki. ‘Everyone’s so busy, just to be able to relax every now and again with some good food is a great experience.’

Discover more about Nikki below

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