Winter Entertaining | Last Minute Marvelous


The Magic

Practice is the central idea of being a great entertainer. Doing it with a heap of style takes focus. Having to do it last minute and make it look as if it took hours…  that’s a bit of magic.

Is it the challenges of last-minute pressure that propels me into designing something innovative or the old adage of necessity is the mother of invention? Truthfully, in my case, both. Years of designing events and meeting last minute challenges to exceed people’s expectations harnessed a great deal of this power.

This inspirational party is based on the last minute pre-covid needs of friends needing to gather prior to an evening out. Dinner was now a late supper after the theatre. We needed to eat. I mean my goodness… we need a nosh after work with dinner at nine. Growling tummies are a bit obvious in a quiet theatre row. It happened that one of our group who promised to host, had a conflict a little over 24 hours prior. I volunteered and the result was a dash to the local market. Like I said it’s practice and boy was that practice helpful in this scenario.

January gives us lovely bulb plants at the market. To be honest, these were over growing and falling over when I found them. So they were perfect and “leggy” to fill these lantern armatures. That knocked out the flowers and I was on to the candles and the rest. I kept the table muted as the room. Creating a low key environment with cement and metal softened by flowers is not common, but for me it’s what I had in my event closet. Candles… they were in the house so worries. I used dark smoked rocks glasses as votives to playup the black and grey linens and ad visual weight.

Beverages… well, it was water with citrus and thyme. In truth, alcohol was not top of mind since we still had a 30 minute drive and it was not clear how many were driving or were passengers. In this case, as host, I but the “brakes” on the offerings. Yes there was wine in the home, but I did not know everyone arriving. So we kept it healthy and lite. This is where I can be resolute in thought. If you the guest balk, then they should host next time. My point is I never worry. The food was the central point. Besides we could have a cocktail prior to the show at the theatre.

Food was SUPER simple. It just has to look difficult not actually be difficult.

Below is what I served:
  • Smoked Trout with Mustard Dill Sauce
  • A Bright and Herbal Couscous Salad
  • Thick Sliced Marinated Carrot Salad
  • Herbed Chicken Sausage Cut into Coins
  • Cucumbers with Smoked Salmon and Creme Fraiche
  • Asparagus Wrapped with Prosciutto
  • Baked Brie with Apricot Preserves with Fruit and Nut Crackers

Everything was bought fresh from the prepared food counter or was fully cooked and packaged. The cucumbers took the longest time and that was 15 minutes. The most difficult ( it was not difficult) was plating and setting the table.

The offering gave plenty of choices and a chance to mingle as we replenished plates and discussed the fact the mustard dill sauce was from a jar. JAR…and let me tell you, it still calls to me when passing the fish department.

Entertaining is not about driving yourself mad with nerves. It’s not being perfect thinking someone is going to remark. Your confidence and welcoming vibe is what sells the gathering. If you love everything chances are they will too.

I hope you enjoyed this inspirational shoot recapturing an evening when prep-time was short but style was piled high.

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to visit the Beautiful Entertaining section for my other related content.

In love & style,




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Hi, I’m Peter,

better known as “Petah”

I create beautiful-living online content for people seeking new inspirations Think of me as a trusted friend with a fabulous eye and intuitive nature.


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