June 19, 2013

One of the things that people love best about Georgie Smith, the Australian-born personality behind Frugal But Fabulous is that she can turn any meal into a celebration.

She excels at making people feel comfortable—and feel appreciated—and she swears that a large part of her success is because of food. I have seen her turn a foggy day at the beach into a party with a few friends and neighbors, some pillows, fresh flowers and, of course fabulous food. 

I caught up with Georgie this week and had a chance to ask her some questions about how to entertain outdoors, how to make it fun for the guests—and the host.

Q: What are some of the key ingredients to successful entertaining outdoors?

  1. It's important to create an indoor feeling outside. In summer, the outdoors should be just as cozy as inside. Bring indoor furniture outside just for the occasion. Bring object d'art and other design elements like indoor pillows and throws outside. Bring outside what you don't expect to find outside. Bring the sofa outside. Or create a sitting area using beanbag chairs, floor cushions and pouffes around an indoor coffee table on the outdoor rug. Enhance the garden by doing lots of vases of leaves from the garden. Add just one stargazer lily to each vase. Spread the love around. It's also an inexpensive trick.

These cool vases from kouboo.com are a perfect example of what Georgie is talking about.

Q: What are some of your favorite tips and tricks?

A: Hammocks are my favorite lounge chair‑—but way more comfy. They look dreamy.  They can serve as a seat as well and don't occupy a sense of space. They make the space look bigger. I love a cabana outside. An inexpensive roof is willow branch fencing. I love using sail shades to not only shade the sun but to also create a sense of a roof — to create that cozy indoor feeling. 

Q: How can you make eating outdoors fun and easy? Any tips for a newbie with nerves?

A: I think the heart and soul of a home is the kitchen. Making the barbecue a part of the outdoor entertaining experience, is fun and it also enables the guests to soak up the love and passion that has gone into the preparation of the meal. It also creates truly yummy smells. Just make sure the wind is blowing the right way and you don't smoke out your guests. I love grilling practically everything. See my favortie recipe below.

Q: Can you share a favorite recipe that is a great hit outdoors?

A: I love serving sangria as the drink for an outdoor occasion. I love S'mores for dessert. Make them as your guests share stories around a fire pit. My fave meal to serve in the summer is turkey sliders or turkey burgers on Pretzel buns (recipe is below). People can mingle and eat with their hands or sit down and make a meal of it. It is crazy delicious. I want one NOW!!

Turkey sliders on Pretzel buns


2 pounds of lean turkey mince (serves 30 sliders)

2 large brown onions

12 green onions 

one quarter cup of mint

one quarter cup of basil

half a cup of parsley

2x eggs

one quarter cup of Worcestershire sauce 

one quarter cup of diced sautéed pancetta

cracked black pepper

sea salt 

Sauté onions and set aside. Sauté diced pancetta and set aside.

Take a large mixing bowl and beat the two eggs. Add the ground turkey. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, sautéed onions, pancetta, chopped parsley, chopped mint, chopped basil, finely sliced green onions, cracked black pepper and sea salt. Stir until all ingredients are combined. 

Take handfuls of the turkey mix ( a little large than the size of limes) and form patties. 



3.5 cups of healthy mayonnaise

4 garlic cloves

one cup of basil leaves

one lemon squeezed

cracked black pepper

This is not true aioli. It's a cheats version but with a twist. I will get to the real version later in the summer. 

Blend all ingredients in the food processor. 

caramelized red onions

2 red onions

half a cup of honey

one table spoon of extra virgin olive oil

cracked black pepper

Slice the onions and sauté in extra virgin olive oil. Once translucent, add the honey and cracked pepper. The onions become caramelized once the honey has been absorbed into the onions.


barbecued red bell peppers

3 red bell peppers

two table spoon of extra virgin olive oil

cracked black pepper

sea salt

Rub red bell peppers in a small amount of extra virgin olive oil and barbecue. Once they begin to blister turn.  Once the blisters begin to blacken remove and place in a large ziplock. Leave for 2 hours. Peel of the skin. Slice into fingers and sit in a bowl containing the remaining olive oil. Add cracked black pepper and sea salt. 


other ingredients:

Romaine lettuce 

Pretzel slider buns


Building the burger sliders

Barbecue the sliders for 4 minutes on each side. Cut the bun in half and smear both sides with aioli. Add caramelized onions and bell pepper. Then place the patty in the bun and finally and nice size piece of Romaine lettuce. Done. YUM!!

Thank you Georgie!

Oh, and my own personal tip? Much like my suggestion in my post on the Superbowl, why don’t you create a signature drink, whether with alcohol or without? Use slices of a particular fruit, color it with some pureed fruit or mint leaves, or find a unique swizzle stick. How about a pink flamingo theme? Find some pink flamingoes for the yard, put a flamingo swizzle stick in a pink strawberry drink and turn your backyard BBQ into a laugh-fest.

Have fun with your food—and your libations—and you set the tone for your guest to have fun too. Oh, and Georgie, I would love one of those sliders right now too!

Written by Catherine Holliss

Interior Design Blog Writer, Kouboo.com, LLC

Director of Interior Design, Sander Architects LLC.  


Photographs © Frugal But Fabulous unless otherwise noted. 

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