The best get-together secret to make your next gathering a great success is to surprise your guests – in a good way! The element of surprise is a brilliant way of making your night in with friends, really memorable and it doesn’t need to be difficult or time consuming.
How Can You Surprise Your Guests With The Best Get-together Secret?
It goes without saying, that you want to make your friends feel special, but by creating a selection of surprises for them that they don’t expect, the whole get-together will be etched in their memories as being wonderful.
You don’t have to break the bank to create these surprises – in fact you can do all the work yourself, which will be appreciated so much more by your friends.
Transforming your entertaining space
Chances are, that your friends have been to your place before and they know what it looks like, so why not change things by moving furniture around to make the room look different. Of course it isn’t always possible to move sofa’s, tables or large things around, but even moving small items can change the space completely.
If you are having friends around for an evening, then changing the lighting can be an easy way to transform a space. Candles are my favourite as they offer movement as well as light and can really help set the tone of the evening. Adding table lights to different parts of the room can also transform the look and create atmosphere. Strings of fairy lights can add a bit more sparkle to your room as well.
If you are entertaining during the day, then never under-estimate the power of really good flowers. There are no excuses these days, as there are so many varieties and a good local florist can create something seasonal for not a lot of money.
Give people unusual drinks and food
Knowing your guests’ likes and dislikes where food and drinks are concerned, is always good to make them feel relaxed and comfortable. There is nothing worse than arriving somewhere and being bombarded with unfamiliar food and drink. However, adding a few unusual things to try is a great way of adding surprise.
Perhaps you know of a new wine that they haven’t tried, or perhaps you can give an old favourite food a contemporary twist to create interest. How good would it feel to be known as the person who can always make their get-togethers interesting and unique?
Create an unique music playlist
Music is one of the most powerful ways to create a mood and atmosphere. The right tracks can transform your frame of mind by rekindling memories or just making you feel great. Often music can be forgotten as you rush to get everything else ready.
Don’t leave your music choices till the last minute, as a playlist can be created days in advance so it’s ready to go, just before your guests start to arrive.
Serve your food or drinks in a different way
Think about how people expect to be served the food and drink that you have chosen for your get-together and then re-think it.
So for instance, serve gin and tonics in a tea cup – there is something a bit naughty about drinking gin from a tea cup and the ice stays cool because you are holding the handle of the cup.
Have a sugar bowl with pink peppercorns and slices of lime, lemon and orange, as well as blueberries and juniper berries as your standard garnishes and use a teapot for the tonic. It’s quite funny looking around the room and seeing everyone sipping drinks from tea cups – plus it’s a great way to use a beautiful tea set that might not usually see the light of day!
Regarding food, take a well known dish and add your own twist to it. For example, salmon and cucumber sandwiches were a classic afternoon tea savoury, but why not change it by infusing smoked salmon with lime, coriander and gin then serve it on a cake stand in a homemade chapati with a dollop of cucumber raita.
There you have just made a great starter look like an afternoon tea savoury!
G and Tea Party : Gin Infused Salmon With Cucumber Raita Wrapped in a Chapati and Served With Gin and Tonic
Serves 4 as a generous starter
1 200g pack of good quality smoked salmon
1-2 tablespoons of gin
juice and zest of half a lime
1 teaspoon of pink peppercorns
5 juniper berries
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh coriander
Half a large cucumber peeled and grated
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt
half a clove of garlic, crushed
10 mint leaves finely chopped
200gm chapati flour ( or fine wheat flour)
1tbsp rapeseed oil
dash of rapeseed oil
pinch of salt
Make the chapati dough. Mix the flour, salt and oil with enough water (added in small amounts) until a stiff dough is made, by stirring with a spoon to leave the sides of the bowl clean.
Knead the dough for 5 mins before adding a dash of oil over the top and leave to rest for 30 mins.
Start to make the cucumber raita.
Squeeze the grated cucumber in your hands to remove the excess liquid then sprinkle with a pinch of salt and leave for 15 minutes so the salt draws out more of the cucumber liquid.
Marinate the salmon by tearing the slices into slightly smaller pieces and place in a shallow dish. Pour over the gin, the lemon juice and zest and sprinkle with pink peppercorns, juniper berries and chopped coriander.
Cover the dish with cling film and leave for 20 minutes.
Crush the garlic and add to the cucumber, then stir in the yoghurt and the mint leaves.
When the dough has rested, divide it into 8 golf ball sized pieces. Roll out one ball of dough into a thin round on a floured surface.
Tap off any excess flour before carefully placing onto a hot heavy bottomed frying pan, or if you manage to acquire one, a Tawa from your local indian/Bangladeshi shop.
Turn the chapati at 30-40 second intervals until it is cooked and has brown spots on each side.
Keep the cooked chapati warm on a warmed plate covered with a clean tea towel.
Repeat the rolling out and cooking of each chapati until the dough has been used up.
Fold each chapati to make a cone, then into the pocket, add 2 tablespoons of cucumber raita followed by some of the smoked salmon pieces. Arrange on a cake stand and serve with cups of gin and tonic.
Guests Always Remember….. The Surprises
So when you’re planning your next gathering, remember the best secret of get-togethers is the element of surprise.