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The Perfect Terrace Party

Friday, April 04, 2014

Terrace parties are a lot of fun and usually include bottles of beer and glasses of sangria, barbecues and good company. They also make for the perfect Sunday brunch and so, Dev Goswami & Shirley Mistry tell you how to throw one yourself

Terrace parties are a great way to catch up with a few friends, with some good alcohol and grilled food for company. They are, easy to throw together and so much more relaxed and fun as compared to a proper, sit-down dinner. And, best of all, throwing a terrace party means that you can let your personality shine through everything, right from the décor and the menu, down to the cutlery. We bring you some easy DIY décor ideas, marinades and sauces you can whip up in a jiffy, tell you what you should have on hand and how to have a blast without the summer heat getting to you.

DIY décor
Just because you are throwing a party and have to manage everything yourself, it doesn't mean you can't make it look interesting. In fact, there are several nifty ways to spruce up your space and add elements that are sure to catch every one’s attention:

Holders: Instead of placing spoons, forks and knives in a heap in one corner, try this easy alternative. Buy three small flower pots, clean them thoroughly and let them dry out in the sun. Then, using black chart paper, cut out three pieces of any shape you like, to form the label. Write ‘Spoons’ on the first, ‘Forks’ on the second and ‘Knives’ on the third. Stick a label on each flower pot and voila — you have your own cutlery stand. This will keep your cutlery from getting jumbled up and will also help you keep track of what item you need to refill when.

Table runner: A terrace party can get boisterous, so it isn't the best time to whip out your favourite table runner, because it is sure to get dirty. However, we have a fun alternative for you. Get hold of a packet of popsicle sticks and lay them flat to form a sheet. Then, start glueing the sides to each other so that when you finish, you end up with a long popsicle mat. Next, paint it in your favourite colour. If you can't pick just one, splatter a whole bunch of colours on it using a fat paint brush. When the party is over, you can simply toss it out.

Cupcake streamers: These are probably the simplest of the lot. Get hold of cupcake liners in different sizes, colours and patterns. Then, simply poke holes at the base of each cupcake liner and string them on to a thick thread. You can use these streamers to adorn your walls and add a cute touch to your party.

Fairy lights: If you thought fairy lights were too clichéd and want to up your game, try this out. Buy medium sized paper cups (not the plastic ones). Then, using a sharp knife or blade, score each cup's bottom in the shape of the letter ‘X’. Next, get some printed paper (handmade works well too) and cut strips of it so that it wraps around each paper cup (much like a coffee sleeve). Then, stick the paper onto each cup. Now, all you have to do is get your fairy lights and push one individual bulb through the ‘X’ mark you scored on the bottom of the cup. Do this for each and every bulb and you have yourself a new lamp that is sure to impress. You could also replace the paper cups with cupcake liners.

Wine Glass tags: Barbecues are always more fun when there is sangria involved, so this little DIY tip should come in handy. When there are several people around, it is very easy to get glasses mixed up. To personalise each guest's wine glass, simply cut out small hearts (or any other shape you'd like) from colourful paper for all your guests. Next, write each guest's name on a heart and cut small pieces of twine to thread each name tag. After you have threaded all the tags, simply wrap the twine around the stem of each wine glass and you are good to go!

Marinades & Sauces
Ultimately, all your attempts at beautifying your space will fall flat if your food doesn't match up. Terrace parties and grilled food are the perfect match and so, we’re showing you how to make some easy marinades and sauces to liven up your menu.

Summer Fresh: This one is easy to put together, is light and fresh. Depending on the quantity, finely chop lots of coriander (tender stalks included), garlic and green chillies. Mix these ingredients with olive oil and toss in your meat. Once it’s off the grill, squeeze some lime over it.

Asian Flavours: This light marinade is perfect for summer. Mix light soya sauce, fish sauce, chopped red chillies, coriander, ginger, garlic and lemongrass together for an Asian twist to your barbecue.

The Indian favourite: Take hung curd and add ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, chilli powder, a pinch of cumin powder and lime juice. This one is a crowd pleaser and is sure to impress your guests.

Packed with pepper: Mix coarsely ground pepper, finely chopped garlic, lime juice and equal parts of butter and olive oil. This sauce is rich and fatty, so you will want to brush this on scallops, prawns or fish, just before you throw it on the grill.

Spiked BBQ: If store bought BBQ sauce won't make the cut, give it an upgrade. Sauté some onions until golden, add crushed garlic, red chilli flakes and a cup of bourbon to it. Let it come to a boil so that most of the alcohol evaporates. Then, add your BBQ sauce and stir until it is heated through.

Onion Jam: For something more sweet, slice onions (you will need to slice quite a large quantity) and begin to cook them on the stove on a low flame so that they keep softening, but don't brown. Add a few bay leaves and a hint of red chilli flakes. Once the onions are a deep brown and slightly sticky, add a few teaspoons of brown sugar (you don't want it too sweet though) and half a cup each of red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar. Keep stirring occasionally till it begins to resemble jam. This is great on a grilled cheese sandwich!

A Grilled Sandwich Party!
If you don't have lots of time to put together a proper barbecue party and would like to still do something fun, you can always throw a grilled sandwich party. Read on for our tips on how to make it a successful one:

The key to a successful sandwich party is having stations. Have one for bread, one for fillings and one for sauces.

  • All you knead is bread: White, brown, multigrain, brioche, pesto-flavoured bread — the works! If you are in a pinch, even pav will work. Get hold of as many variants you can and slice them up.
  • Fill it up nice: In separate platters or bowls, lay out sliced ham, crispy bacon, shredded chicken, minced meat, sautéed strips of beef or pork, lettuce, tomatoes, sliced avocados and onion rings.
  • Get saucy: For sauces, in different bowls, lay out chipotle, mustard, honey mustard, ranch dressing, garlic aioli, mayo and spiced mayo. You could also lay out some sliced olives, pickles and jalapenos.
  • For dessert: Dessert sandwiches like nutella and bananas or marshmallows sandwiched in brioche or a traditional PB&J work well.

The idea is to get your guests to build their own sandwich and then bring it to the grill, where they can have it grilled. You can also make a few flavoured butters such as garlic, pepper-lemon and chilli-chive, so that your guests can pick one for added flavour if they wish to.

The Party Check-List
The invitations are out, you've stocked up on alcohol and the marinaded meats are ready. It's the day of the party and how the party goes will depend on your preparations. This check-list will ensure that it doesn't become too hot and the party proceeds smoothly:

Prep in advance: Cooking on the terrace might sound fun, but it might not be a good idea on really hot days. So, call a few friends over a little earlier and cook most of your food in advance. You can throw it on the grill for added flavour, but keeping the cooking to a minimum will ensure that it doesn't get too hot.

Ice, ice baby: Ice is one of the most important components of a party. You get ice cubes in the market at a nominal cost which will save you the hassle of freezing new cubes every time a batch gets over. Borrow or get a large ice box to store these cubes — the box will also come in handy to cool water — at terrace parties, cold water will be missed much more than you think.

Chairs & tables: Early on in the party most of your guests will be on their feet, but you'll need seating arrangements sooner or later. So, have a stack of chairs ready in a corner. Also getting a few tables will ensure that people don’t have to constantly hold drinks and food plates in their hands, reducing the risk of spillages.

A clean party: One of the easiest ways to ensure that you don't have to spend half of the next day cleaning up is to ensure that you don’t make a mess during the party. Place several bins or polythene bags for people to dispose of glasses and plates. Keeping a cleaning cloth handy will ensure that any spills are taken care of immediately. Also, while we're on the topic, keep lots (and we mean lots) of tissues handy. Your guests are going to need them.

Party Essentials
We’ve picked out some products that will come in handy during a terrace party and will add to your home’s décor
Heavy duty
This fan from Anemos is perfect for a terrace party. It will also add an old-world touch to your home.
Price Rs 64,000

A classy party
This ice bucket and keg set from Episode ooze class and will come in handy to cool beers and water.
Price Rs 3,650 onwards

Simple and cheap
Barbecue parties don’t have to be messy and difficult — just pick up this pocket-friendly electric BBQ from HomeShop 18.
Price Rs 1,688

Under a shade
We love this fan from Anemos — it also works as a makeshift table, perfect for a party.
Price Rs 93,000

Swing away
Okay, you might not need this for a terrace party, but it will add to your home décor and will surely come in handy during a party.
Price Rs 25,999

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