“When it comes to catering at Christmas Ali & Perry Nadin founders of Nourish at No44, have over 30 experience in hospitality and event management ,So here they share a few of their top tips for stress free entertaining at home ,over the festive season.
Prep, prep, prep like a boss.. like your life depends on it !
This will help you remain calm on the day and able to relax and enjoy time with family and friends. Remember to plan in time for yourself to get ready too, before your guests arrive.
Make dishes that are full proof. One pot dishes you feel confident in making. Dishes you have tried and tested, practice makes perfect. Don’t try anything new and adventurous on the day. This means less time in the kitchen, and less hiccups.
Dinner parties at Christmas are the perfect time for “sharing food” around a table. Have one or two main dishes and a couple of tasty sides. Pick real crowd pleasers and family favorites for the main dish . Place in the middle of the table in beautiful oven to table ware, so people can dive in and help themselves. Here are some good reasons why this type of sharing food is perfect for parties
1. No stress plating up food, for large numbers, panicking it’s going cold. It takes much less time.
2. You don’t need to worry about individuals likes and dislikes, let guests help themselves to what they do like ( obviously this doesn’t apply if anyone has allergies, but hopefully you would let you know beforehand )
Everyone gets the size portion they want. Always cook that little bit extra than normal as most people overindulge during the festive season
3. There is less washing up at the end of the meal as the main dish was cooked in one pot.
4. You can lay your table with plates and dress them, so the table is pre set and looks gorgeous when guests arrive.
Think about how you want your table to look and do mock ups a few weeks before to see how it looks in reality.
Check serve ware and glassware at least two weeks before , to ensure you have enough and it’s still all in good condition. Don’t give Grannie a chipped plate , or realise that all the shops have sold out of gravy boats anywhere ,leaving you with the old plastic measuring jug, which spoils your beautifully prepared table.
Set up help yourself drinks, ice buckets, glasses, nibbles , sliced lemon, away from the kitchen area if possible – trust us this helps keep people from under your feet.
If you have a garage, consider purchasing a second hand small fridge from somewhere like gumtree or Facebook market place, that you solely use for drinks, keeping your main fridge organised with food. Alternatively if its very cold outside ,a large plastic toy type box could be used to store wine and extra drinks etc.
Make a play list and stick on your favourite tunes. Feel good music, lifts everyones mood.
Ask everyone to bring a bottle, nibbles or dessert, to keep down the costs
Stock up on clear containers that stack in the fridge for all the extra food, ingredients and leftovers ,buy some labels , so you can easily find what you need at glance and remember to date everything so you know its past its best.
Finally don’t worry about things going wrong , we focus far too much on perfection. The greatest gift you can give anyone is your time. Family and friends will enjoy their time with you anyway.
Next time we will be talking about themes ,and simple cost effective table settings