By Naomi Crisanteon 16th Dec 2013 12:35
The Christmas madness is about to hit us all and it doesn’t matter whether you are planning an intimate get together for a few or a full-on family extravaganza, there are still people to invite, menus to plan, tables to set and food to cook.
Being well-prepared is the key to minimising stress at this busy time and, for me, the most important thing is to have a well-stocked pantry and fridge to rely on when entertaining.
First of all, I make sure to fill my storage jars with a selection of good quality nuts – almonds, pistachios, cashews, mixed nuts – and, once opened, I keep them in the fridge so they stay fresh. Just take them out 10 minutes before serving so they come to room temperature. Arrange them in small colourful bowls near the drinks area so people can munch on them.
The easiest way to start things or to entertain at a moment’s notice is with a large antipasto platter, so I have a good stock of different olives, gherkins, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, char-grilled capsicums and grissini sticks in the pantry as well as cheese and vacuum-sealed, sliced charcuterie meats in the fridge. All I need to do is open a few jars and arrange the antipasti in tapas bowls on a large platter, add some fresh bread and choose a bottle of wine, and the entertaining is easy. Even just warming a bowl of olives and stirring through some sliced almonds makes a simple snack to serve with a drink for those unexpected drop-ins.
For quick pass arounds to serve with a glass of bubbles, I will spread slices of ciabatta, frenchstick or crispbreads with something from the Saclà range - Pesto, Black Olive Pate or my favourite Capsicum, Fig and Hazelnut gourmet sauce – then top it with soft white cheese like bocconcini, fetta or fiore di latte and a sprinkling of fresh basil leaves. Quick, flavoursome and impressive!
This year I will serve a turkey fillet roll stuffed with a Mediterranean filling of sun-dried tomatoes, capers and olives and wrapped in jamon before roasting. If it’s a really hot day, I will serve it at room temperature with a crisp green salad, otherwise, It will be served hot on a bed of soft polenta with roast vegetables on the side.
My baked Christmas ham will be served with an assortment of condiments. I love the Pommery Moutarde Royale with Cognac and Mackays Spiced Mango Chutney and Sweet Onion Relish that Deli2Home stocks. I am sure they will be served with the leftover turkey, pork and ham on Boxing Day as well!
And at the end of the meal there must be espresso coffee and biscotti for all!
Better go…must put in my Deli2Home order so I am pantry prepared for Christmas…
Merry Christmas to you!