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Ideas for a relaxed outdoor gathering

01 July 2016

‘The best thing about eating with friends is the joy of losing track of time, in good company, until the early hours,’ says interior designer and photographer Ingrid, who loves having get-togethers in her courtyard garden. ‘I prefer a relaxed approach to hosting – it’s low effort for me and sparks good conversation.’ She shares her ideas plus a favourite recipe: dairy and gluten-free key lime pie with an avocado twist. 

Ingrid lays the table before her guests arrive
Bring textiles and cushions outdoors to keep guests warm

Take indoor comfort outside

Create cosiness that will last from day to night by furnishing your outdoor space in the same way as your indoor areas. ‘I see my courtyard garden as an outdoor room,’ says Ingrid. ‘Before a get-together, I bring out textiles, rugs and cushions from indoors, plus hang lanterns in the frangipani tree ready for when the sun goes down.’

Encourage guests to help themselves to food and drink

Minimise hosting, maximise fun

Make the most of time together by spending less time cooking and hosting on the day. ‘I prepare most of the food and drink before friends arrive. And instead of doing individual plates of food or table settings, I bring everything out from the kitchen on trays – it’s easy for me and encourages interaction around the table,’ says Ingrid.

Decorate cocktail glasses with fresh berries and herbs
Hang lanterns from tree branches for after the sun has gone down
Make drinks look extra special by serving them in ENSIDIG vases

‘Setting the right mood – music playing, lights hanging from the tree, the smell of seasonal ingredients – feels magical’

Ingrid, interior designer and photographer, Australia

For a healthy dessert make individual key lime and avocado pies

Frozen key lime & avocado pies

Ingredients – serves 12
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pitted dates, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
2-3 avocados
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp lime zest
1/4 cup honey

1. Grease a 12-muffin tin set.
2. Place the coconut and walnuts in a food processor and blend until coarsely ground. Add the dates and process until the mixture begins to stick together. Press about 1½ tablespoons of the mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup.
3. Blend the avocados (classic key lime pie uses condensed milk instead), lime juice, lime zest and honey in a food processor until smooth. Pour one heaped tablespoon of the filling into each muffin cup.
4. Top with a fresh slice of kiwi or a thin slice of lime.
5. Freeze for 30-60 minutes to set, then enjoy!

A portrait of Ingrid

‘Friends love these key lime pies – the avocado makes them nutritious as well as tasty. You can also save time on the day by making them the night before’


Made by

Photography: Chris Court
Styling: Ingrid Weir

Follow Ingrid at ingridweir.com.au

Recipe from nutritionistinthekitch.com