Stress Free Bushfire Dinner Party

Stress Free Bushfire Dinner Party
Stress Free Bushfire Dinner Party
Bushfire, c. 1873-1908 by James Alfred Turner (1850-1908, artist) via State Library Victoria

This Stress Free Bushfire Dinner Party is a bit of a cheat because if you’re having a Dinner Party and a bushfire breaks out, it’s time to abandon the party and activate your bushfire plan!

Having said that, I was inspired by local tv coverage of a cafe madly making lunches for the volunteer firefighters working to save the town.


When they’re in the thick of the fight, Firies generally take short breaks. If the fire is fierce and there aren’t many on the scene, it might just be 20 minutes to inhale a sandwich and drink. When there’s more, the appliance (fire truck, etc.) might leave the fireground and they’ll get a “proper” break.

This gives you the option of finger or bowl food, which ideally, is nutritious, filling and can be eaten with the minimum of fuss.


There must be plenty of water, and light or uncarbonated sweet drinks, (e.g., juice or cordials) as well as tea and coffee.

Generally, there wouldn’t be alcohol, but this is a dinner party so perhaps some beer, Champagne (of course), and a light wine like Pinot Noir or Chenin Blanc.


When you see them on the tv, they’re usually leaning on the appliance, sitting on the ground, or on a picnic set in a park somewhere. You can decide whether to go picnic style or eat at the table.

You could play a fire soundtrack or perhaps blast out some rock to keep everyone inspired and motivated for the fight.

Dress Code

This would be one of those occasions where everyone could dress down.

Dinner Planning

The usual dinner for six people, arriving 6.30 for 7 pm.

This is another of the everything on the table at the same time meals. In real life, you’d be flat out preparing food for people who are patiently queueing to eat it. But you might prefer to have all the dishes ready to go on the table when your guests arrive.

Light Snacks

Some quick and easy snacks for hungry people to munch on while they wait, like chips, crackers, crudité (chopped vegetables) with dips, preserved meats and vegetables, and cheeses.

You might also add some energy food like nuts, trail mixes and jelly lollies like snakes.

Naengmyeon (Cold Noodles in Beef Broth)

I recently discovered the refreshing delight of an icy cold Asian beef broth on a hot summer day. It’s one of those dishes with Korean, Japanese and Chinese variations so if this Korean one doesn’t take your fancy you’ll probably be able to find one that does

Bring 250g (1/2 lb) beef brisket meat, a small onion, two spring onions (scallions) (white part only), six cloves of garlic, three 2.5 cm (1″) slices of ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of peppercorns and 14 cups of water to a boil in a large, uncovered pot. Reduce to medium-low and simmer for 50 minutes skimming off the scum. Stir in two tablespoons of light (low salt) soy and cook for a further 10 minutes. Set the meat aside to cool, and discard the vegetables.

Add one or two cups of dongchimi (radish kimchi) liquid for a more authentic flavour, and sugar and salt to taste, no more than one teaspoon per serve. “Real” dongchimi needs weeks to ferment so you might prefer to buy it at your local Korean grocer. Put the broth in the freezer to cool to a slushy consistency.

Prepare soba noodles according to the packet instructions and when they’re done, drain and plunge into iced water. Bearing in mind the quick and easy eating, you might like to break the noodles into pieces.

Thinly slice the beef, a smallish cucumber, and a crisp Korean or nashi pear.

To serve, put the noodles in a bowl, top with the beef, cucumber, pear and a little pickled radish. Pour the broth around the noodles. If you like, add ice cubes to keep it cool.

Steak and Greek Salad

Sometimes you’ll see Firies enjoying a barbie, so get a few steaks or good quality sausages on the grill and make a chunky Greek salad to go with it.

Chop some tomato, cucumber, red onion, capsicum and feta cheese into bite-size pieces. Add some pitted Kalamata olives. For the dressing, whisk 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup white vinegar, a teaspoon of dried oregano and a pinch of salt.

Your guests might also like to make sandwiches, so have some rolls, bread slices or wraps available too.

Fresh Summer Sandwiches

This would be two or three different kinds of sandwiches – your favourites of course! Suggestions include:

  • Ham, chicken or turkey and salad
  • Ham, chicken or turkey with brie and apple with Dijon mustard
  • Egg or tuna salad (the kind that comes in a mayonnaise spread)
  • Salmon salad (the kind made with vinegar)
  • Cheddar and pickle or finely sliced onion or tomato
  • Beef and horseradish (nice on rye with watercress)

Fresh Fruit Platter

We’re still thinking finger or bowl food, so slice a variety of fruit and arrange it on a platter. Or chop it and place it in a bowl. Serve yoghurt separately just in case it provokes a dash to the toilet in all the stress.

Ice creams

My suggestion is your favourite shop ice creams like drumsticks, magnums or ice cream sandwiches.


Make the soup the night before, or early in the morning to allow plenty of time for the flavours to develop.

4.00 Prepare the fruit and salad

5.00 Prepare the sandwiches

6.30 Guest arrive

7.15 Get some bloke to cook the meat

7.30 Enjoy!

12th February 2019

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