Sylvia’s Seven Top Tips for Christmas Entertaining

1. Keep It Simple
I know I keep going on about this, but it really is true. We all get caught up in the spiral of Christmas and then when the day is over, we just fall into a heap. Don’t! Try to keep a simple perspective on it all. Remember your “mise en place”, that is French for “getting your act together in the kitchen” – advance pre-preparation is vital for good time management. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too much detail. You are not being judged for MasterChef. You are just enjoying a beautiful day that happens to be Christmas Day. It will all work out in the end. Everyone will enjoy it. And there will be peace throughout the household.

2. Eat Fresh Local Seasonal Produce
There is no excuse to buy processed food on this day, or any other, no matter what your budget. Again, keep it simple. Keep it fresh. Don’t sweat it out in the heat of the kitchen on this festive day. Try and stretch yourself though, think outside the Xmas gift box. Create a simple new dish. Be it a vegetable or salad side dish. We are fortunate to have wonderful local produce at our fingertips. Keep it fresh, seasonal and keep it simple. Try my Avocado Lemon and Almond Salad.

3. Try Something Different
If you couldn’t make it to one of my Christmas Cooking Classes in the past 10 years, then you missed out on trying something different, something new, something seasonal, something simple and something really delicious. Come along next year! In the meantime, have no fear you can search my Recipes here to get some inspiration if you need it. Mix and match lighter dishes in smaller portions to create a beautiful fresh balanced meal. The Baked Medley of Summer Vegetables goes particularly well with grilled or roast meats, poultry, yep turkey too, or fish.

4. Don’t Over Buy – Don’t Over Cook
As you know from previous years, you bought too much food, too much drink and forgot that the shops will open the next day. Please, try not to over purchase produce; it will only go to waste. Practice good food safety and hygiene as food poisoning is not an uncommon occurrence at this time of year. Get the know how here. Again, keep it simple. Keep it fresh. Only buy as much as you need for the day.

5. Get Creative With Leftovers
I am not one for the huge traditional turkey and kilos of ham. Having said that I do recall when living in the UK the butcher said he gave me the smallest turkey. He lied! It just fit in the back seat of my car let alone the oven! Well, we popped off to Harrods and purchased truffles to slip underneath the skin before roasting. I won’t go on, but the flavour was delicious. So, after Christmas day we made a multitude of turkey sandwiches with various condiments and fresh local bread to take to our picnics on countryside drives. Further more, turkey salads with nuts and wild berries and baby roast potatoes, didn’t go astray either. Use your imagination.

6. Don’t Over Drink
Enjoy a variety of beverages over the festive season. Try to incorporate some non-alcoholic drinks also. Try lemon syrup or elderflower cordial with sparkling mineral water. Drink plenty of water and if you do happen to over indulge try my refreshing Breakfast Juice to pick you up again and nourish you.

7. Dessert!
Last but not least is dessert. If you are not a fan of the traditional Christmas pudding choose a lighter seasonal option. We are fortunate in our southern climate to have beautiful fresh fruit and berries in season. Whereas in the northern hemisphere Brussels Sprouts are in season. Enough said (for a number of people). Here is a lighter yet luscious option for you to try – my Lemon Posset with Berries. Give it a go for something light refreshing and different.

Taste, Experiment and Enjoy a very Merry, safe and relaxing Christmas.
Happy Cooking!
Sylvia xx

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