How to Ace Christmas Entertaining | sheerluxe.com

How to Ace Christmas Entertaining

Planning a bit of a festive get together? Ensure your Christmas drinks party is one to be remembered with our top tips from luxury catering company Top Hat Caterers.  With clients that include Tom Ford and Harper's Bazaar it's safe to say they know a thing or two about entertaining in style.  

From crafting mouthwatering canapés to concocting delicious cocktails, here's how...

FOOD FIRST

Plenty to drink is key but the food is what really counts. Treat your guests to these delicious and relatively easy canapés.

 

Crowd Pleasers:

Quail eggs with celery salt and black sesame seeds

These look really pretty on the plate and can be cooked the day before.

• Before serving, peel the eggs and slice a little off the bottom.  

• Dip the tips of the eggs into the celery salt and sprinkle a few sesame seeds on top before arranging on a plate.
 

Gravlax with sweet dill mustard

on

rye bread

This

is

super easy and doesn

t require any cookin

g,

as

you can

buy

pre-prepared gravlax from most

supermarkets. Many come with sweet dill mustard

but

you can easily make this yourself

by

mixing

two tablespoons

of

Dijon mustard with some chopped dill and sugar

to

taste.

Cut the rye bread into bite-sized squares.

Add ¼ teaspoon

of

sweet mustard and then roll a slither

of

gravlax

on

top.

Garnish with dill.

Gravlax with sweet dill mustard on rye bread  

This is incredibly easy and doesn't require any cooking as you can buy pre-prepared gravlax from most supermarkets. Many come with sweet dill mustard but you can make this yourself by mixing two tablespoons of Dijon mustard with some chopped dill and sugar to taste.

• Cut the rye bread into bite-sized squares.  

• Add ¼ teaspoon of sweet mustard and then roll a slither of gravlax on top.  

• Garnish with dill. 

Orange marmalade and rosemary-coated cocktail sausages.  

Cook the sausages in advance and put them aside before your guests arrive.

• Finely chop a couple of sprigs of rosemary and pop in a pan with three tablespoons of marmalade.  

• Heat slowly until the marmalade has melted down into a liquid.

• Pour the marmalade and rosemary over the sausages and pop in the oven at 180°c for 10 mins to warm through. Serve hot. 

Sweet Chilli Prawns  

Use pre-cooked jumbo prawns with their tails on for fun finger food.  

• Mix two tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce with one tablespoon of lime and some chopped coriander. 

• Toss the prawns in the mixture and serve at room temperature. 

Vegetarian Canapés:

Tomato and Bocconcini Pesto Skewers  

You could make your own pesto but the fresh stuff from supermarkets tastes great and removes any hassle.  

• Toss the bocconcini (small mozzarella balls) in a bowl with a spoonful of pesto until fully coated.  

• Chop the cherry tomatoes in half and skewer the bocconcini with half a cherry tomato on either side.  

Palmiers with Sundried Tomatoes, Tapenade and Goats Cheese:  

Savoury palmiers (pastry biscuits) are easy to find in most supermarkets.  

• Slice the goats cheese and lay one slice on top of each palmier.  

• Add a little tapenade and a 1/3 of a sundried tomato on top.  

• Finish with a sprig of thyme.

TOP TIP: Always remember to include some gluten and dairy-free options when planning your Christmas canapés. For younger guests, keep plain cocktail sausages and quail eggs aside.

Sweet Bites:

Give guests a couple of sweet nibbles, too. Bowls of clementines and chocolates are a quick and easy option, with the bonus of looking festive. If you have more time and want to show off your baking skills, try a tray of mini mince pies dusted with icing sugar. Just add a sprig of holly to garnish.

Mince Pies  

You can,of course, make your own mincemeat but we recommend buying a pre-made jar from the likes of Waitrose. Boost the mix by adding in the zest of one orange, a couple of slugs of brandy and some chopped almonds.

For the shortcrust pastry: 

•170g plain flour  

• A pinch of salt  

• 100g cold butter, cut into cubes

• 1 tablespoon caster sugar  

• 1 large egg yolk  

• Zest of 1 orange  

Method:  

• In a bowl rub together the flour, pinch of salt and butter with your fingers until you have a crumble-like consistency.

• Add the sugar, egg & orange zest and draw the mixture together to make a dough.  

• Add a little cold water, if needed.  

• Press the mixture into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before rolling out the pastry on a floured surface.

• Cut out circles of pastry and press into the moulds of a miniature tart tin.  

• Add a dollop of mincemeat to each mould and top with pastry stars or circles.  

• Bake for 10-15 minutes at 200°c, keeping a close eye on them as ovens do vary.  

• Dust with icing sugar once cooled.  

DRINK NEXT

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a few tipples. Read on for quick, easy and totally satisfying options to impress your guests with... just remember to keep glasses topped up at all times!

A glass of Champagne or Prosecco is the ideal welcoming drink. For a festive twist, try adding a little raspberry coulis to the bottom of each glass before topping up with bubbles. Or why not treat your guests to a hot cocktail, such as homemade mulled cider?  

Mulled Cider:  

• 2 litres of dry cider  

• 2 apples  

• Handful of cloves  

• 5 cinnamon sticks

• 5 allspice berries 

• Zest of 1 orange  

• Splash of dark rum  

Method:  

• In a saucepan combine all the ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes allowing the flavours to infuse.  

• Serve with a slice of apple.  

Non-alcoholic cocktails:

For a non-alcoholic take on mulled cider, simply use fresh apple juice and leave out the rum. Another great booze-free mix is Belvoirs Apple, Plum & Cinnamon Cordial or Winter Berry Cordial topped up with fizzy water – simply garnish with dried apple slices to finish.  

TOP TIP: Garnishes always make cocktails look extra special. Pop a ribbon of cucumber in a gin and tonic, add redcurrants to a vodka mix, or pomegranate seeds to the bottom of champagne glasses. 

 

 

SERVING SUGGESTIONS & OTHER TOP TIPS:  

1. You eat with your eyes, so make sure the food you’re serving looks appetising. Try putting canapés on black slate, a marble slab or wooden boards or serve cocktails up in copper tankards for on-trend appeal. 

2. Garnishing makes a real difference but can be fiddly. Make up a tray of canapés and use scissors to snip chives or other fresh herbs over them from a height. This works brilliantly for dishes such as gravlax on rye bread. You could try decorating plates with bunches of rosemary and thyme or a smattering of chillies.

3. Poinsettias and tealights look stylish on tables and surfaces. They’re also an easy way to add decorations to your room with minimal effort.

4. We always recommend having someone to help serve the food, top up glasses and clear away at a drinks party. However, if your budget won’t stretch to that, have a designated drinks table with bottle openers, glasses and mixers and encourage guests to help themselves when they arrive.

5. Hand round the food yourself – it’s a great way of making sure you chat to all your guests. If needed, ask a helpful friend to give you a hand. Alternatively, lay out the canapés on a table, keeping a few back to top up plates throughout the evening.

6. For a two-hour drinks party we recommend 10-12 canapés per person. As an alternative to supper, aim for 14-16 per guest.

7. Entertaining can be expensive so look out for deals on alcohol at your local supermarket. Prosecco and Cava are normally more cost-effective than Champagne. If you use a wine supplier then you can usually hire glasses from them for free, as long as you return them clean.

8. Don’t offer too many different types of drinks, as you’ll invariably spend your whole time making them – the best way to enjoy a party is by having to do as little as possible!

9. If you are on a budget serve cocktail sausages, chicken liver pâté served on croutes or salmon blinis.

10. Don't stress and have fun!

Inspiration Credits: Casadeperrin.com, DeliciousMagazine.co.uk, SainsburyMagazine.co.uk, JustEasyRecipes.co.za, TheGlitterGuide.com