Nothing says Australia Day quite like having family and friends over for a sunny backyard barbecue. Australia Day is fast approaching and we know that just like us, you’re also starting to plan what to do, or the best way to celebrate the day at home.
People come together to celebrate their cultures, traditions and our country on this day. So if you’re planning on playing the host this year, and you are after some Australia Day barbecue ideas, here is our guide for styling the perfect Australia Day barbecue celebration in true Australian style.
Our 5 Tips for An Australia Day Barbecue:
1) Choose The Right Venue For You
Selecting the right venue for your Australia Day barbecue can make or break your event. It should be decided before sending out invitations as it will impact the number of guests you can invite. Are you hosting at home? In a park? On the beach, or next to a lake or river? If you are hosting at home, be sure to check that your barbecue is well stocked with gas - there’s nothing worse than realising too late you that your barbecue is out of order! If you’ve decided on hosting the barbecue at a park, beach or beside a lake or river, remember to count the number of guests and have appropriate amounts of seating for everyone, or ask them to bring their own.
Our Tip: If you are planning on hosting an Australia Day barbecue at a public space, keep in mind that you might have to get there early to snag a spot and a barbecue, as a lot of other groups may be planning on using the same spot.
2) Guest Lists
Now that you've decided on where, it’s time to think about who. The number of guests will dictate the amount of food necessary, as well as the style of the event. Styling an intimate affair could be perfect if you’re hosting a handful of close friends at home, whereas if you're hosting a larger function, you might consider organising a list of who’s bringing what in terms of food.
3) Décor Ideas
When styling for an Australia Day barbecue it’s easy to get caught up in Australian flags and sun umbrellas but, if that isn’t the look you’re after, try borrowing aspects from the Australian way of life and lend it to your décor design.
In this great big ‘sunburnt’ country of ours, we embrace the many diverse cultures that have helped make this country as amazing as it is today. To recreate that relaxed Australiana feel we are known for, look to include natural timbers like Victorian Ash, Spotted Gum, Tasmanian Blackwood or Huon Pine, as well as rustic tables and benches. Australia is still a young country and being so young means that we have the rest of the world’s designs at our fingertips. Nothing says Australian like a rustic table contemporary seating and lighting. Opt for glamorous lanterns or candles if you expect to be entertaining into the twilight, and contrast this with natural dyed table linen.
Borrow looks from other cultures to add a unique twist to your event. European outdoor rugs and mats, elements of rattan, cane and wicker thrown together with a few well-placed gum leaves and native wattle blooms will create a fresh summery feel while maintaining traditionally Australian elements.
4) Australia Day Barbeque Food Ideas
Perhaps the most important part of an Australia Day barbecue is planning the culinary festivities. If you’re hosting a small event then catering yourself should be relatively stress free. However, for larger group events it’s probably best to make a list of food you would like to serve on the day, and then ask each guest to bring something. Of course, it goes without saying that certain foods should be catered for on the day - it’s not a typical Australia Day without seafood, sausages or Pavlova in our books!
Our Tip: Consider your guests' culinary talents and comforts when assigning dishes. If your brother-in-law is more confident providing meat skewers than dessert, then it makes sense to ask him to provide the skewers, and assign the dessert to someone else willing.
Make sure that on the day you have ample ice available, as Australia Day tends to fall on the hotter side of summer and guests tends to bring their preferred drinks with them.
For those hosting at home or who have been asked to bring dessert, we’ve prepared a delicious Pavlova recipe. Enjoy! Summer berry pavlova
Australia Day Summer Berry Pavlova: (Courtesy of Jamie Oliver)
What You Will Need:
For the meringue
6 large free-range egg whites
300 caster sugar
1 pinch sea salt
For the pavlova
400g fresh strawberries and raspberries
200ml double cream
200ml fat-free natural yoghurt
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, seeds removed
a few sprigs fresh mint, leaves picked
Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas 2. Put your egg whites into a clean bowl and whisk them at a medium speed until they start to form nice firm peaks.
With your mixer still running, gradually add the sugar and a pinch of salt. Turn the mixer up to the highest setting and whisk for 7-8 minutes more until the meringue is white, glossy and smooth. If it feels grainy, whisk for a little bit longer, being careful not to let the meringue collapse.
Line two baking trays with baking paper. Divide the meringue mixture evenly between them and shape each blob into a circle about 20cm in diameter. Put both trays into the oven and bake for 1 hour until the meringues look slightly golden and are fluffy in the middle.
Halve or quarter the large strawberries and leave the smaller ones whole. Mix them with the raspberries. Whip the cream with the sugar until it forms soft peaks, then stir in the yoghurt and fold in the vanilla seeds. Spoon half the cream mixture on top of one of the meringue halves and smooth it out. Sprinkle half of your berries evenly around the cream mixture. Place the other meringue on top and press down gently to stick them together. Spread the remaining cream mixture over the top layer and sprinkle the remaining berries on top. Scatter over a few small mint leaves and enjoy!
(Recipe credit: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/fruit-recipes/summer-berry-pavlova/#wYr0eAP7y8bfRzAa.99)
5) Australia Day Activities
Lastly remember to cater for Australia day activities. Every Australia day should include some fun activities to relax your guests., Mmake sure you include outdoor cricket, Australian Rules football and crochet sets. Your party should be fun and exciting, so pop on Triple J’s Hottest 100 and get your guests involved in backyard activities.
If you have a pool, deck chairs and stylish modern furniture are a must on this patriotic day, don’t forget to include stylish beach towels for your guests as well.
Lastly, Australia Day is about having fun and enjoying the company of friends and family. It should always be a relaxed laid-back affair. It’s a day for celebrations and appreciating this fine country we all call home.
(image Credit: http://www.polkadotbride.com/, http://elorablue.tumblr.com/, http://portmacquarieweddings.com/, http://www.australiaday.org.au/, http://www.mailtimes.com.au/