Preparing a delicious meal to share with my family
Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas if we didn’t gather around a beautifully set table to enjoy a big day meal, be it traditional with Christmas ham and turkey with all the trimmings or a typically Aussie seafood lunch or dinner. Rather than rushing around on Christmas Day, I tend to prep my dishes the day before, leaving only the actual roasts and the barbie to do on the day of and a few easy last-minute touch-ups to do. I prefer to serve food buffet-style rather than a formal 3-course menu, it suits the relaxed vibe of our get togethers. Plus I need all the room I can get on the table for the myriad decorations.
Trying out new recipes from the magazine
I’m so privileged – and lucky – to edit Better Homes and Gardens as our food editor, Sarah Murphy, creates the most delicious array of Christmas recipes for the magazine so I’m spoilt for choice. As I missed out on last year’s celebration, I am mixing up my menu selection between some older recipes – the roast chicken with macadamia nut stuffing will definitely make a repeat appearance while the mini frittatas and chorizo and eggplant polenta stack canapés will make their debut appearance, as will the chargrilled lobster tails with mango salsa. As for dessert, I can’t go past the easy-make White Christmas ice-cream cake – it’s a real showstopper. You’ll find these newer recipes in the January issue of Better Homes and Gardens.
Decorating my Christmas table with love
Going the extra mile to create a sense of occasion by decorating your Christmas table is fun and it’s a way of making your guests feel extra special and welcome. The good news is you don’t have to go over the top to make a style statement. My best tips would be:
- Stick to a colour palette and/or theme – my favourite colour scheme is white and gold. This dynamic duo always feels polished and sophisticated.
- For a low-profile centrepiece, I like to lay a runner of greenery – I’ve even been known to mix fresh in with faux. I’ll intertwine the runner with battery-operated fairy lights. I’ll also place beautiful gold and white baubles on and alongside the 'runner'.
- Layer to your heart’s content. This year, I’ll start with a white and gold Festive Tinsel Tablecloth I spotted at Spotlight, then I will build each place setting with a Gold Charger Plate first then add gorgeous gilded crockery on top – dinner plate, starter, dessert bowl. If I don’t have enough gold and white patterned plates to go around, I mix and match with plain white crockery. The Living Space Festive 12-Piece Leaf Dinner Set has caught my eye. It's leafy gold pattern around the rim is delicate with sufficient white to keep the look fresh.
- Christmas warrants a cloth napkin and my go-to is always the simplicity of white napkins but this year I’m going to go all out with white napkins, each featuring a Christmas design in metallic gold thread. I’ll simply place the napkin under the dessert bowl with the design clearly on show.
- I either place a take-home gift or a balance a bonbon on the dessert bowl. PS, I like to make personalised bonbons using a DIY kit from Spotlight but if I’m running short on time, I head to my nearest Spotlight store for ready-mades.
- This year, the cutlery will be gold but if I have more than 12 guests, I’ll mix and match my cutlery – and for a coordinated approach, I stick to alternate settings of gold and stainless steel or silver cutlery.
- I go all out with the glassware – tumbler for water, champagne flutes and wine glasses for each place setting. The Festive Dipped Wine Glasses from Spotlight are perfect for the occasion.
Making outdoor spaces extra special
If you prefer to enjoy your festive day celebration outdoors, go for it. Set your festive table as you would indoors, making sure you have cushioned seating during the meal, and for relaxing afterwards. As day becomes night, let fairy lights and candlelight work their own special brand of magic. Check out these great votives I found at Spotlight.
If you have a pergola, suspend lanterns, or large paper stars or hanging fans in colours to suit your scheme.
On the practical side, I always set up a bar area with buckets or esky’s filled with ice to chill the wine, soft drink and water. Outdoors, unbreakable glassware is a given, especially if you have little ones as guests.
Brought to you by Spotlight.